Definition of hearse noun from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



BrE BrE//hɜːs//
; NAmE NAmE//hɜːrs//
Death, Types of vehicle
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a long vehicle used for carrying the coffin (= the box for the dead body) at a funeral Wordfinderashes, cemetery, coffin, cremation, die, funeral, grave, hearse, morgue, mourn See related entries: Death, Types of vehicle Word OriginMiddle English: from Anglo-Norman French herce ‘harrow, frame’, from Latin hirpex ‘a kind of large rake’, from the extinct southern Italian language Oscan hirpus ‘wolf’ (with reference to the teeth). The earliest recorded sense in English is ‘latticework canopy placed over the coffin (whilst in church) of a distinguished person’, but this probably arose from the late Middle English sense ‘triangular frame (shaped like the ancient harrow) for carrying candles at certain services’. The current sense dates from the mid 17th cent.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: hearse