Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A vehicle for conveying a coffin to a church or cemetery.
  • n. Roman Catholic Church A triangular candelabrum used at Tenebrae during Holy Week.
  • n. A framelike structure over a coffin or tomb on which to hang epitaphs.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A hind in the second year of its age.
  • n. A framework of wood or metal placed over the coffin or tomb of a deceased person, and covered with a pall; also, a temporary canopy bearing wax lights and set up in a church, under which the coffin was placed during the funeral ceremonies.
  • n. A grave, coffin, tomb, or sepulchral monument.
  • n. A bier or handbarrow for conveying the dead to the grave.
  • n. A carriage or vehicle specially adapted or used for transporting a dead person to the place of funeral or to the grave.
  • v. To enclose in a hearse; to entomb.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A hind in the second year of its age.
  • n. A framework of wood or metal placed over the coffin or tomb of a deceased person, and covered with a pall; also, a temporary canopy bearing wax lights and set up in a church, under which the coffin was placed during the funeral ceremonies.
  • n. A grave, coffin, tomb, or sepulchral monument.
  • n. A bier or handbarrow for conveying the dead to the grave.
  • n. A carriage or motor vehicle specially adapted or used for conveying the dead to the grave in a coffin.
  • transitive v. To inclose in a hearse; to entomb.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To put on or in a hearse.
  • A Scotch form of hoarse.
  • n. A canopy, usually of openwork or trellis, set. over a bier, or more rarely over a permanent tomb, and used especially to support candles which were lighted at times of ceremony.
  • n. A bier; a bier with a coffin.
  • n. A carriage for conveying a dead person to the grave. The usual modern form has an oblongroofed body, often with glass sides, and a door at the back for the insertion of the coffin.
  • n. A temporary monument erected over a grave.
  • n. A dirge or threnody, or a solemn recital or chant.
  • n. In heraldry, a charge resembling a portcullis or a harrow.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a vehicle for carrying a coffin to a church or a cemetery; formerly drawn by horses but now usually a motor vehicle

Etymologies

Middle English herse, a harrow-shaped structure for holding candles over a coffin, from Old French herce, from Medieval Latin hercia, from Latin hirpex, hirpic-, harrow, probably from Oscan hirpus, wolf (alluding to its teeth).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Old French herce, from Latin hirpex. (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • I was going to say only if the hearse can swim, but ...

    November 27, 2007

  • Only if it's going to a rehearsal.

    November 27, 2007

  • Can a hearse carrying a corpse drive in the carpool lane?

    November 27, 2007