ha·​rass | \hə-ˈras; ˈher-əs, ˈha-rəs \
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 ; ˈher-​əs-​, ˈha-​rəs-​ \ 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

Judge Joan Alexander issued a protective order prohibiting him from harassing or contacting the victim. Jon Lender, courant.com, "'It's Awful': Sadness, Anger Expressed Over Landry's Impact On Young Woman In Years Of Secret Affair," 11 July 2018 Absent any evidence that this concretely affected the investigation — caused FBI agents to lie to a judge, caused them to harass a Trump family member or associate, etc. Zack Beauchamp, Vox, "The “we’ll stop it” text: the IG report’s most inflammatory finding, explained," 14 June 2018 The first was after an arrest for harassing his estranged wife on May 13 at her home. Bill Torpy, ajc, "Torpy at Large: Something stinks in Brunswick, and it ain’t paper mills," 11 July 2018 More and more, these videos will provide easy means for harassing individual citizens, influencing public officials, or threatening peers in schools. Catherine F. Brooks, WIRED, "Faked Video Could End Justice by Twitter Mob," 18 June 2018 He himself would get indicted in 1992 for harassing his former girlfriend, spending nearly a year in prison after being convicted. Ben Zimmer, WSJ, "‘Indict a Ham Sandwich’ Remains on the Menu for Judges, Prosecutors," 1 June 2018 Schubert criticized the protesters during her press conference for harassing people outside the DA's office, and Friday a fence was installed around the building. Marcos Bretón, sacbee, "Whom do you trust to investigate cops for Stephon Clark's death? Not Schubert," 21 Apr. 2018 South Korea's skiing federation banned male mogul skiers Choi Jae-woo and Kim Ji-hyun, who competed at the Pyeongchang Olympics, for life for harassing and assaulting two female teammates . . . BostonGlobe.com, "Foxborough makes cut as possible World Cup host," 16 Mar. 2018 Two conspiracy theorists were arrested this week for allegedly harassing the pastor of the South Texas church where a mass shooting occurred last November. Stephen English, star-telegram, "Two arrested for harassing pastor of Texas church that was site of shooting massacre | Fort Worth Star-Telegram," 7 Mar. 2018

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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Dictionary Entries near harass






harassing fire


Statistics for harass

Last Updated

4 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for harass

The first known use of harass was in 1617

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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, 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 \

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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playful or foolish behavior

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