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1620s, hawsey, nautical, of unknown origin. Some connect it with German hase "hare," an animal which plays an important part in Germanic folklore, with many supernatural and unlucky aspects in medieval times (among the superstitions: a dead hare should not be brought aboard a fishing ship, and the word hare should not be spoken at sea). Another suggestion is Old English hasu, haswe "gray." Related: Hazily; haziness.