harass

verb ha·rass \ hə-ˈras ; ˈher-əs , ˈha-rəs \
Updated on: 7 Dec 2017

Definition of harass

transitive verb
1 a : 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

harasser

noun

harassment

play \hə-ˈras-mənt; ˈher-əs-, ˈha-rəs-\ noun

Examples of harass in a Sentence

  1. She was constantly harassed by the other students.

  2. He claims that he is being unfairly harassed by the police.

Recent Examples of harass from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of 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

Synonym Discussion of 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

HARASS Defined for English Language Learners

harass

verb

Definition of harass for English Language Learners

  • : to annoy or bother (someone) in a constant or repeated way

  • : to make repeated attacks against (an enemy)


HARASS Defined for Kids

harass

verb ha·rass \ hə-ˈras , ˈher-əs \

Definition of harass for Students

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

harassment

\-mənt\ noun

Law Dictionary

harass

transitive verb 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

harasser

noun

harassment

noun

Origin and Etymology of 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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