American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth 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.
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
- 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. A medieval iron hearse, said to be unique, stands in the aisle of Tanfield church, Durham, England, over a tomb of the Marmion family.
- 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.
- To put on or in a hearse.
- A Scotch form of hoarse.
- 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. dated To enclose in a hearse; to entomb.
GNU Webster's 1913
- n. engraving A hind in the second year of its age.
- n. obsolete 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. Archaic A grave, coffin, tomb, or sepulchral monument.
- n. obsolete 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.
- v. obsolete To inclose in a hearse; to entomb.
- n. a vehicle for carrying a coffin to a church or a cemetery; formerly drawn by horses but now usually a motor vehicle
- From Old French herce, from Latin hirpex. (Wiktionary)
- 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)
“For thy hearse to strew the ways, "he has a note to tell us that _hearse_ is not to be taken" in our sense of a carriage for the dead, but in the older sense of a tomb or framework over a tomb, "though the obvious meaning is" to strew the ways for thy hearse. ”
“Kids, parents, educators and politicians alike are just beginning to sense that the hearse is at the back door.”
“Then, the last remaining candle on the hearse is placed upon the altar, to represent the Passion and sacrificial death of Christ; finally, it is hidden behind the altar, to represent His Burial.”
“Elsensohn's body tomorrow as it travels by hearse from the airport to”
“You had to choose between 3 cars, a beetle, the hearse from the movie or a pink sports car.”
“From Bob, apropos of my posting about station wagons: A hearse is the ultimate cross-over vehicle.”
“The man replied, “Well that first hearse is for my wife.””
“To dream of black-beetles drawing a hearse is bad.”
“The Rifle Corps of Ely, Wisbeach, March, Ramsey, and Whittlesey were represented at their own request, and with arms reversed preceded the hearse from the station to St. Mary's Church, and thence to the cemetery.”
“The lofty groves of pine frowned down in hearse-like gloom upon the mighty river, and the deep stillness of the night, broken alone by its hoarse wailings, filled my mind with sad forebodings, – alas! too prophetic of the future.”
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