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Evgeniia
Does the meaning of the word "haggard" include "showing age"? I would be grateful if you could answer my question (I can't stop thinking about it). The other day I was solving a crossword made by my fellow classmate (online English course). For the word "haggard" I was given a clue: "show tiredness and age". Is it correct? Does the meaning of the word "haggard" include "showing age"? I looked it up in several dictionaries and couldn't find this one. Later I was told that this clue was taken from a textbook: "I've noticed Robert has put on weight; he's getting a double chin [fat around the chin]. His hair always looks so unkempt [untidy; scruffy]. I don't know why he doesn't look after it." [...] "He works incredibly hard; he often looks haggard [his face shows tiredness and age, with the skin hanging in folds] and exhausted." But I still have some reservations: the word "age" in those square brackets corresponds with the context, but could it be used as a general definition for the word "haggard"? Thank you!
Oct 9, 2018 9:45 AM
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Answers · 12
Hi Evgeniia, Firstly, someone who looks haggard has an exhausted, worn-out, untidy appearance and has noticeably poor health and bad hygiene. This could be a result of someone who drives himself or herself to work too hard, or someone under great emotional stress, fatigue, anxiety or worry, and ends up neglecting personal grooming (untidy, scruffy hair being such an example). Hence, someone appears much older than he/she really is (i.e. showing age). So, I would say that the clue is correct. Untidy hair, scruffy hair, unshaven face, dark eye rings and bloodshot eyes are examples of what someone looking haggard will present to others. So, your friend clued you in with examples of haggard appearances. P.s. I am not so sure about [fat around the chin] from your textbook though. There might be a lot of reasons for that: a sedentary lifestyle, excess calorie intake, binge eating and so on. Instead, my attention is drawn to your phrase "works incredibly hard". He probably puts himself in overdrive, paying little attention to his body's needs and personal grooming, thus looking aged and haggard. I hope this helps.
October 9, 2018
Yes, it does imply age. Obviously, not all older people are haggard, but you would not refer to a child or teenager in this way. If you used 'haggard' to refer to a young adult ( say, someone in their twenties), the implication would be that stress and overwork had made this person look OLDER than they really are. Using the word 'haggard' to describe an exhausted, careworn twenty-something is implying that they look as if they might be in their forties, for example.
October 9, 2018
Hello, haggard means to look worn, exhausted, or tired, so this often makes people think also of age but it is not strictly part of its definition, after all, there are plenty of older people who do not look haggard at all. But someone who has aged so badly that they look unwell, miserable, like they've had a very hard life, could be described as haggard. On the other hand, an older person who looks healthy, well rested and vibrant could not be described as haggard simply because they are older. Hope that helps.
October 9, 2018
Since "haggard" means to look exhausted, it can be used to describe a 90 year old.
October 9, 2018
Never forget when you look up the meaning of an adjective to always look up its antonym. In this case I would say that the antonym is 'vibrant', although others may add alternatives
October 9, 2018
Evgeniia
Language Skills
English, Russian
Learning Language
English