'Hare' vs 'Rabbit': What's the Difference?

By
Shanea Patterson,
updated on
January 26, 2023

Is it a ‘hare’ or ‘rabbit’? Wondering what the difference is between the two? We’ll clear that up in this article, plus teach you how to pronounce both and use both correctly in a sentence.

In short, a ‘hare’ and a ‘rabbit’ look similar, but the difference is a ‘hare’ is bigger and has longer ears and hind legs. ‘Hares’ also usually live alone or in pairs in above-ground nests, but ‘rabbits’ tend to live together in groups of up to 20 in warrens (underground tunnels).

What’s the Difference Between a ‘Rabbit’ and a ‘Hare’?

As you just learned, a ‘hare’ tends to be bigger than a ‘rabbit’ and has longer ears and hind legs. They also usually live either alone or in groups above ground.

‘Rabbits’ usually live underground and in groups of 20 or more.

‘Hare’ vs. ‘Rabbit’ – Difference and Comparison

The differences between a ‘hare’ and a ‘rabbit’ are apparent. The ‘rabbit’ is smaller with shorter ears and hind legs.

The ‘rabbit’ also usually lives underground, while the ‘hare’ lives above ground in a nest.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Hare’

According to Merriam-Webster, a hare is a plant-eating animal that has long ears, short tails, and long, powerful hind legs. They usually live in pairs and get their fur at birth.

Definition and Meaning of ‘Rabbit’

Merriam-Webster defines ‘rabbit’ as a long-eared, short-tailed mammal with long hind legs. They’re born furless, blind, and helpless. 

Pronunciation: How to Pronounce ‘Hare’ and ‘Rabbit’

Wondering how to pronounce these words? Here’s a short guide.

  • To pronounce ‘hare’ correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling: HAIR
  • To pronounce ‘rabbit’ correctly, here’s the phonetic spelling: RAB-IT

How to Use ‘Hare’ in a Sentence

Since we know what the words mean and how to pronounce them, let’s move on to seeing some examples of how to use them in a sentence.

  • That looks like a hare nest. Don’t disturb it; there might be more.
  • All right, let’s pick up the mother hare gently. She’s injured.
  • Have you ever read the story of the Tortoise and the Hare? It’s a pretty good story.
  • My sister bought clothes for her pet hare. I think it’s ridiculous.

How to Use ‘Rabbit’ in a Sentence

Now, let’s see some examples of how to use ‘rabbit’ in a sentence.

  • My little sister got a pet rabbit for getting good grades all year.
  • I would never get a rabbit as a pet. I’d rather have a dog or a cat.
  • My pet rabbit had babies last night. We’re not keeping all of them, though.
  • My little brother accidentally sat on our pet rabbit, but he’s okay.

Final Thoughts on ‘Hare’ and ‘Rabbit’

To recap, you learned that a ‘hare’ and a ‘rabbit’ look the same but have a few differences. The ‘hare’ is bigger, with longer ears and hind legs, and often lives above-ground in nests. The ‘rabbit’ is smaller and usually lives in groups of 20 or more underground. Therefore, you should never use these words interchangeably.

If you ever forget which is which, you can always come back here to refresh your memory. We’ve also got a ton of content on other confusing words and phrases you might come across in the English language. Go check it out.

Written By:
Shanea Patterson
Shanea Patterson is a writer based in New York and loves writing for brands big and small. She has a master's degree in professional writing from New York University and a bachelor's degree in English from Mercy College.

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