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 To do that, the FBI infiltrated the party, sowed distrust among its members and used local police to harass and arrest members. Kristina Davis, San Diego Union-Tribune, "An original Black Panther departs having bridged San Diego’s eras of racial struggle," 20 Feb. 2021 The pair finalized their divorce in October, but in the Tuesday filing, Hill accused Heslep of continuing to harass her by leaking false and disparaging information to tabloids. James Queally, Los Angeles Times, "Former U.S. Rep. Katie Hill alleges years of abuse by her ex-husband, receives restraining order," 8 Dec. 2020 In 2018, Waters notably called for her supporters to harass Trump administration officials in public during a rally. Emma Colton, Washington Examiner, "Matt Gaetz: Democrats have have incited 'far more political violence' than Republicans, they 'lit actual flames'," 13 Jan. 2021 But being highly motivated doesn't mean collectors are allowed to harass or threaten debtors with arrest or jail time. Kate Gibson, CBS News, "How to avoid getting buried in holiday debt, and what to do if you already are," 16 Dec. 2020 Under the rules governing federal courts and the courts in many states, a plaintiff and his attorneys can and should be sanctioned for filing a suit to harass or to cause unnecessary delay or that lacks evidentiary support. WSJ, "This Isn’t Bush v. Gore; Trump’s Suits Are Frivolous," 19 Nov. 2020 Buy the justices said that Trump was entitled to argue in lower courts that the requests for records from banks and Trump’s longtime accounting firm Mazars USA were too sweeping, or done to harass or embarrass the president. Robert Barnes, Anchorage Daily News, "Supreme Court goes idle on Trump-related disputes and time is running out," 14 Nov. 2020 Davis slammed Texas Republican leaders, including Gov. Greg Abbott, Lt. Gov. Dan Patrick and Attorney General Ken Paxton, for encouraging a climate where people feel emboldened to harass others and break the law. Kate Mcgee, ExpressNews.com, "Wendy Davis says Trump supporters harassing a Biden bus in Texas should have served as a warning," 12 Jan. 2021 His role was to harass and prevent the British and Hessian units near the town from racing north to support the Hessians at Trenton. James Freeman, WSJ, "Christmases Past and Future," 24 Dec. 2020

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

27 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Harass.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harass. Accessed 2 Mar. 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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