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

In the early days of his relationship with Meghan Markle, Harry issued an unprecedented statement calling for the press to back off and stop harassing his then-girlfriend. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Prince Harry Thinks There's "Too Much Hysteria" Over Meghan Markle," 5 Aug. 2018 After harassing housing services for months, my roommate was finally relocated to a new dorm room. Yerin Kim, Seventeen, "​13 Roommate Horror Stories That’ll Make You Want to Live Alone," 13 July 2018 Companies are trying to balance privacy concerns with mounting pressure to do a better job in rooting out workers who might steal, harass or even commit violent acts in the workplace. Bloomberg, Fortune, "Rolling Background Checks at Work Are Becoming a Thing," 11 July 2018 Some companies have used hardball tactics to get patients to pay, including harassing phone calls, hiring debt collectors and placing liens on houses, media investigations have found. Rebekah L. Sanders, azcentral, "Arizona family shocked by $47,000 air ambulance bill for their child," 25 June 2018 Taxpayers who receive harassing phone calls from people claiming to be from the IRS are told to report the incidents to the treasury inspector general for tax administration at the IRS Impersonation Scam Reporting site. Susan Tompor, Detroit Free Press, "The fake tax forms thieves are using to trick us," 11 May 2018 Besides the allegations of assault and making threats, Clark is being held on suspicion of misdemeanor vandalism and making harassing 911 calls. Nashelly Chavez, Ed Fletcher And Sam Stanton, sacbee, "Update: Roommates say Stevante Clark arrest came after escalating dispute in their house," 20 Apr. 2018 The brother of a man who was shot to death by Sacramento police — an episode that sparked widespread community protest — has been arrested on suspicion of making threats and annoying or harassing calls to 911, according to county jail records. Joseph Serna, latimes.com, "Brother of Stephon Clark jailed on suspicion of making threats, harassing 911 call," 19 Apr. 2018 The Astros harassed him incessantly and refused to take any advantage. Chandler Rome, Houston Chronicle, "Astros squander opportunities against Rangers in first loss of season," 30 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

2 Dec 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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More from Merriam-Webster on harass

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with harass

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for harass

Spanish Central: Translation of harass

Nglish: Translation of harass for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of harass for Arabic Speakers

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