beagle (dog)

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beagle, breed of small, compact hound developed over centuries in England and introduced into the United States in the 1870s. It stands between 10 and 15 in. (25.4–38.1 cm) high at the shoulder and weighs between 20 and 40 lb (9.1–18.1 kg). The breed is divided into two varieties on the basis of size: those under 13 in. (33 cm) in height and those between 13 and 15 in. (33–38.1 cm). The beagle's short, close-lying, harsh coat is usually colored black, tan, and white. Once widely used, either singly or in packs, to hunt hares, today it is more popular as a field-trial competitor and pet. See dog.

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beagle a small hound of a breed with a short coat, used for hunting hares. Recorded from the late 15th century, the word may come from Old French beegueule ‘open-mouthed’, from beer ‘open wide’ + gueule ‘throat’.

HMS Beagle was the name of the ship of Charles Darwin's voyage of 1831–6 around the southern hemisphere; the Beagle Channel through the islands of Tierra del Fuego at the southern tip of South America was named after her.


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bea·gle / ˈbēgəl/ • n. a small sturdy hound of a breed with a coat of medium length, bred esp. for hunting. DERIVATIVES: bea·gler / -g(ə)lər/ n.

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beagle Hunting dog, used to chase and follow small game. Of ancient origin, the modern breed was developed in England in the mid-1800s. It has a long, slightly domed head with a square-cut muzzle, long, hanging ears and widely set, large, eyes. Average size: (two varieties) not exceeding 38cm (15in) at the shoulder; weight: 8–14kg (18–31lb).

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beagle small hound used for hare-hunting. XV. perh. — OF. beegueule ‘having the mouth open’, f. beer gape + gueule throat (cf. GULLET).

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Beagle, naval vessel: see Darwin, Charles Robert.