Student Dictionary

One entry found for rehearse.
Main Entry: re·hearse
Pronunciation: ri-primarystresshschwars
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): re·hearsed; re·hears·ing
Etymology: Middle English rehersen "to say again, repeat," from early French rehercier "to go over again and again," literally, "to harrow again," from re- "again" and hercier "to harrow," from herce "a harrow"
1 a : to say again : REPEAT b : to recount in order : ENUMERATE <they rehearsed their complaints in a letter>
2 a : to practice (a play or scene) for public performance b : to train or instruct (as actors) by rehearsal
3 : to engage in a rehearsal
- re·hears·er noun
Word History In the Middle Ages, French farmers used a tool they called a herce. This was a triangular wooden frame with sturdy pegs or teeth on one side. It was pulled over plowed farmland to break up the soil in order to make it smooth for planting. The early French verb used to describe this action was hercier, which meant "to harrow." In most cases the process had to be repeated over and over, so the word rehercier was formed, meaning "to harrow again" or "reharrow." In time, rehercier came to be used with more general meanings like "to go over something again (and again)," as in repeating a school lesson or a story. The word came into Middle English as rehersen, meaning "to say again, repeat." Through the years the English word, now spelled rehearse, has picked up new meanings. Perhaps the most familiar one now is "to go through (a scene or play) over and over for practice until it is ready for performance."

Pronunciation Symbols