Also found in: Thesaurus, Legal.


Having or showing little sense; foolish: a harebrained scheme.
Usage Note: The first recorded use of harebrained dates to 1548. The spelling hairbrained also has a long history, going back to the 1500s when hair was a variant spelling of hare. The hair variant was preserved in Scotland into the 1700s, and as a result it is impossible to tell exactly when people began writing hairbrained in the belief that the word means "having a hair-sized brain" rather than "with no more sense than a hare." While hairbrained continues to be used, the standard spelling of the word is harebrained.


(ˈhɛəˌbreɪnd) or


rash, foolish, or badly thought out: harebrained schemes.


or hair•brained


giddy; reckless.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Adj.1.harebrained - very foolishharebrained - very foolish; "harebrained ideas"; "took insane risks behind the wheel"; "a completely mad scheme to build a bridge between two mountains"
foolish - devoid of good sense or judgment; "foolish remarks"; "a foolish decision"




[ˈhɛəbreɪnd] ADJ [idea, scheme] → disparatado, descabellado; [person] → casquivano


hairbrained [ˈhɛəˌbreɪnd] adjscervellato/a
References in classic literature ?
The harebrained self-conceit which had emboldened Wamba to undertake this dangerous office, was scarce sufficient to support him when he found himself in the presence of a man so dreadful, and so much dreaded, as Reginald Front-de-B
I shall perhaps find myself one day called out by some harebrained scamp, who has no more real cause of quarrel with me than you have with Beauchamp; he may take me to task for some foolish trifle or other, he will bring his witnesses, or will insult me in some public place, and I am expected to kill him for all that.
Perhaps he might have been suspected of meannesss if it had not been for the fact that with wonderful disinterestedness and all a comrade's readiness, his purse would be opened for some harebrained boy who had ruined himself at cards or by some other folly.
ARE we being governed by a junta of gibbering idiots, or by a cynical gang grabbing cash to fund their own harebrained schemes?
By chance, Paul discovers a dead body in a dumpster and he hatches a harebrained scheme: to pass the deceased off as his long lost brother Raymond (Woody Harrelson) and collect the million dollar life insurance policy.
My Lucky Star is Keenan's third novel--following My Blue Heaven and Putting on the Ritz--to center on the harebrained schemes of gay-boys-about-town Philip Cavanaugh and Gilbert Selwyn; this time around, they run amok in Los Angeles and cross paths with a closeted movie star, his eccentric family, and a troublemaking Hollywood madam.
Though his currency speculation scheme was truly harebrained, Ponzi was not without his talents.
So far," Haygood wrote, "we are yet to be invaded by a foreign power, though if Bush keeps this harebrained presidential policy-making up, I may just welcome an invasion with open arms.
The meddling that they had earlier thought to be simply the harebrained folly of state and federal legislators and bureaucrats turns out, in fact, to be proceeding from various UN environmental treaties and conventions.
What is one to make of what seems a harebrained idea?
That focus has its roots in the singular mania of Lincoln Kirstein, a visionary and promoter, who brought Balanchine here in 1933 and provided the contacts and money to start a school that would train American dancers in the Russian style in order to feed a professional American ballet company--an absolutely nutty idea, a harebrained hypothesis, a boneheaded belief in its day that has forever affected the subsequent history of dance, theater, design, and music.
Every CEO worth his salt must wonder what it was like to be inside the boardroom when Bill Agee got his pals to rubberstamp his latest harebrained proposal as the company slowly sank into oblivion.