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[hawrs, hohrs] /hɔrs, hoʊrs/
adjective, hoarser, hoarsest.
having a vocal tone characterized by weakness of intensity and excessive breathiness; husky:
the hoarse voice of the auctioneer.
having a raucous voice.
making a harsh, low sound.
Origin of hoarse
1350-1400; Middle English hors < Old Norse *hārs (assumed variant of hāss); replacing Middle English hoos, Old English hās, cognate with Old High German heis, Old Saxon hēs
Related forms
hoarsely, adverb
hoarseness, noun
Can be confused
hoarse, horse.
1. harsh, grating; throaty, rough. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for hoarse
  • Key symptoms include hives, hoarse voice, and wheezing.
  • The cashier was coughing and sniffling and talking in a hoarse voice while handling my food items.
  • While he likes to be alone, she is so gregarious and talkative her voice is constantly hoarse.
  • He carried on gamely even when his voice grew raspy and hoarse midway through the twenty-minute speech.
  • In a hoarse, faint voice he reviewed the case and concluded that the jury's verdict had been justified by the evidence.
  • The voice may be hoarse but can be normal, with the lesion discoverable only by laryngoscopy.
  • Nunu screamed herself hoarse as the physio gently moved her stiff legs.
  • There's punk, any simple chord progression played faster than mid-tempo with aggression and hoarse vocals.
  • First and above all, a good many of the crack canines were too hoarse to bark, much less could they think of howling.
  • Still, the more he speaks, the less hoarse he seems.
British Dictionary definitions for hoarse


gratingly harsh or raucous in tone
low, harsh, and lacking in intensity: a hoarse whisper
having a husky voice, as through illness, shouting, etc
Derived Forms
hoarsely, adverb
hoarseness, noun
Word Origin
C14: of Scandinavian origin; related to Old Norse hās, Old Saxon hēs
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hoarse

late 14c., hors, earlier hos, from Old English has "hoarse," from Proto-Germanic *haisa- (cf. Old Saxon hes, Old Norse hass, Dutch hees, Old High German heisi, German heiser "hoarse"), perhaps originally meaning "dried out, rough." The -r- is difficult to explain; it is first attested c.1400, but it may indicate an unrecorded Old English variant *hars. Related: Hoarsely; hoarseness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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hoarse in Medicine

hoarse (hôrs)
adj. hoars·er, hoars·est

  1. Rough or grating in sound, as of a voice.

  2. Having or characterized by a husky, grating voice.

The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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