ha·​rass | \ hə-ˈras How to pronounce harass (audio) ; ˈher-əs, ˈha-rəs How to pronounce harass (audio) \
harassed; harassing; harasses

Definition of harass

transitive verb

1a : exhaust, fatigue I have been harassed with the toil of verse— William Wordsworth
b(1) : to annoy persistently was harassing his younger brother
(2) : to create an unpleasant or hostile situation for especially by uninvited and unwelcome verbal or physical conduct was being harassed by her classmates claims that the police were unfairly harassing him
2 : to worry and impede by repeated raids harassed the enemy

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Other Words from harass

harasser noun
harassment \ hə-​ˈras-​mənt How to pronounce harass (audio) ; ˈher-​əs-​ , ˈha-​rəs-​ How to pronounce harass (audio) \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for harass

worry, annoy, harass, harry, plague, pester, tease mean to disturb or irritate by persistent acts. worry implies an incessant goading or attacking that drives one to desperation. pursued a policy of worrying the enemy annoy implies disturbing one's composure or peace of mind by intrusion, interference, or petty attacks. you're doing that just to annoy me harass implies petty persecutions or burdensome demands that exhaust one's nervous or mental power. harassed on all sides by creditors harry may imply heavy oppression or maltreatment. the strikers had been harried by thugs plague implies a painful and persistent affliction. plagued all her life by poverty pester stresses the repetition of petty attacks. constantly pestered with trivial complaints tease suggests an attempt to break down one's resistance or rouse to wrath. children teased the dog

Examples of harass in a Sentence

She was constantly harassed by the other students. He claims that he is being unfairly harassed by the police.
Recent Examples on the Web Iran also used a drone against Israel in 2018 and has used them to harass U.S. ships in the Persian Gulf and even photograph an American aircraft carrier. Seth J. Frantzman, National Review, "Iran’s Growing Drone Threat," 27 Apr. 2021 As Gordon Lafer, a labor policy expert at the University of Oregon observed, under the secret ballot system management had free rein to harass and coerce employees into rejecting the union. Los Angeles Times, "Column: Sen. Joe Manchin pushes a sweeping pro-union labor law one step closer to reality," 20 Apr. 2021 Public health laws allowed police to harass Chinese immigrants for living in crowded conditions and shut down Chinese businesses because they were deemed as sources of illnesses, according to Hom. Harmeet Kaur, CNN, "Early Chinese Americans were blamed for diseases and denied health care. So they built their own hospital," 12 Apr. 2021 That government remains one of Twitter’s largest outside shareholders and continues to harass and monitor its citizens via the micro-blogging service. Jacob Silverman, The New Republic, "Twitter Is Enabling Saudi Arabia’s Brutal Crackdown on Dissent," 9 Apr. 2021 All the instances of hypersexual stereotyping in advertising and media contribute to an environment where men feel it’s OK to harass and commit violence against Asian women, Kuo said. Priscilla Totiyapungprasert, The Arizona Republic, "This Phoenix restaurant displayed a racist banner. Here's how it spurred a 'call to arms'," 1 Apr. 2021 And a subset of viewers are inspired to personally harass those journalists with threatening messages. Washington Post, "Tucker Carlson villainizes journalists on his top-rated show. Then the threats pour in.," 15 Apr. 2021 In 2019, the FCCC report had mentioned the weaponizing of visas by China as a tool to harass foreign media persons. Jianli Yang, National Review, "How China Censors Foreign Journalism," 14 Apr. 2021 Most visitors obey the rules, but the small numbers that don’t harass employees, adding to their anxiety. Gabrielle Russon, orlandosentinel.com, "Disney World union says theme park employees deserve the vaccine now," 19 Mar. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harass.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of harass

1617, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for harass

French harasser, from Middle French, from harer to set a dog on, from Old French hare, interjection used to incite dogs, of Germanic origin; akin to Old High German hier here — more at here

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Statistics for harass

Last Updated

10 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Harass.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harass. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for harass



English Language Learners Definition of harass

: to annoy or bother (someone) in a constant or repeated way
: to make repeated attacks against (an enemy)


ha·​rass | \ hə-ˈras How to pronounce harass (audio) , ˈher-əs \
harassed; harassing

Kids Definition of harass

1 : to annoy again and again
2 : to make repeated attacks against an enemy

Other Words from harass

harassment \ -​mənt \ noun
ha·​rass | \ hə-ˈras, ˈhar-əs How to pronounce harass (audio) \

Legal Definition of harass

: to subject persistently and wrongfully to annoying, offensive, or troubling behavior a collection agency harassing a debtor — see also sexual harassment

Other Words from harass

harasser noun
harassment noun

History and Etymology for harass

Middle French harasser to exhaust, fatigue, from harer to set a dog on, from Old French hare, interjection used to incite dogs

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Comments on harass

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