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

Authorities have shed light on a police officer who resigned this week amid an investigation into his response to a woman who said she was being harassed in a Chicago forest preserve for wearing a shirt with the Puerto Rican flag. CBS News, "Police shed light on cop who resigned after dispute over Puerto Rico flag shirt," 12 July 2018 Sarah Centrella, a former technology saleswoman, says she was harassed by a large percentage of her predominantly male clients but never told her bosses. Julie Steinberg, WSJ, "Difficult Conversation: When the Harasser Is a Client," 6 July 2018 Katie Kausch said she was harassed online as an intern at MTV after writing a story about people who don’t believe the Sandy Hook shooting that killed 26 at an elementary school really happened. Tamara Lush, The Seattle Times, "Handling online threats to journalists presents difficulties," 3 July 2018 Denson separately sued the campaign, claiming she was harassed on the job. Erik Larson, Bloomberg.com, "Former Trump Campaign Staffer Asks Judge to Keep NDA Lawsuit Public," 19 June 2018 And too many stood idly by as I was harassed by my classmates. Zoey Luna, Teen Vogue, "Transgender Teens Need Teachers To Stand Up For Them," 19 June 2018 Google has been riven by internal debate over diversity around Damore’s memo, including complaints by diversity advocates that they have been harassed by Damore’s supporters. Nitasha Tiku, WIRED, "Google’s Employee Diversity Numbers Haven’t Really Improved," 14 June 2018 And there's a reason that we are harassed and killed. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Cameron Esposito's New Special Is Called Rape Jokes — & She's A Little Nervous About It," 11 June 2018 In the video Holt, who is black, says Persuhn is harassing him. Sarah Meehan, baltimoresun.com, "Video depicting Baltimore County officer stopping shopper goes viral," 11 June 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

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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Learn More about harass

Dictionary Entries near harass






harassing fire


Statistics for harass

Last Updated

9 Sep 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

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