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Where did the term "harebrained" come from? I see that it is used frequently in this bulletin board. The thread on inbreeding gives rise to the idea that "harebrained" came from "heirbrained." On the other hand, there is that child's legend that your head is full of hair and it slowly squeezes out until you run out and go bald. "Hairbrained?" Hare's aren't the smartest creatures but why pick on them?
I think Harebrained refers more to recklessness that it does stupidity. I assume hares are thought in some circles to be spontanious, unthoughtful creatures.
Harebrained's definition is "giddy or flighty." I would assume the derivation has something to do with rabbits and their tendency to dart off first this way, then that way. Someone who is harebrained would jump to conclusions and not finish ideas, in the manner of a fast moving rabbit (not Bugs Bunny).
I'm not entirely satified with this answer, but here's what I found at http://www.amerispeak.com/June%2098.htm
Origin: hare + brained. A hare is a rabbit-like animal with long, floppy ears. It is known for its jumping ability, not for its intelligence. Thus, harebrained = foolish, silly, not very smart or well-thought out.
Harebrained is an adjective. It is often used to describe an idea.
a harebrained idea
a harebrained notion
a harebrained scheme
The main reason I'm not satisfied with this answer is my agreement with VilleOrb where he said "Hare's aren't the smartest creatures but why pick on them?"
"I wept because I had no shoes, then I met a man with no feet. So I took his shoes" - Dave Barry
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