harness

1 of 2

noun

har·​ness ˈhär-nəs How to pronounce harness (audio)
1
a
: the equipment other than a yoke of a draft animal
b
: gear, equipment
especially : military equipment for a horse or man
2
a
: occupational surroundings or routine
get back into harness after a vacation
b
: close association
ability to work in harness with othersR. P. Brooks
3
a
: something that resembles a harness (as in holding or fastening something)
a parachute harness
b
: prefabricated wiring with insulation and terminals (see terminal entry 2 sense 3) ready to be attached (as in an ignition or lighting system)
a wiring harness
4
: a part of a loom which holds and controls the heddles

harness

2 of 2

verb

harnessed; harnessing; harnesses

transitive verb

1
a
: to put a harness on
harnessed the ox
b
: to attach by means of a harness
harness the horses to the wagon
2
: to tie together : yoke
must harness his mechanical apparatus to his creative mindAndrew Buchanan
3
: utilize
harness the computer's potential

Examples of harness in a Sentence

Noun The pilot strapped himself into his harness before takeoff. Verb The horses were harnessed to the wagon. Engineers are finding new ways to harness the sun's energy to heat homes. The company is harnessing technology to provide better service to its customers. They harnessed the power of the waterfall to create electricity. harness anger to fight injustice
Recent Examples on the Web
Noun
As a remedy to resolve the issue, mechanics will replace the rearview camera tailgate wire harness. Ahjané Forbes, USA TODAY, 20 May 2024 Engineers ran into questions about parachute harness connectors and protective tape wrapped around wiring that posed a fire risk in a short circuit. William Harwood, CBS News, 17 May 2024 See all Example Sentences for harness 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'harness.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

Noun

Middle English harneys, herneys "equipment of a man-at-arms, body armor, fittings for a draft animal, apparel, baggage," borrowed from Anglo-French herneis, harneis (also continental Old French), probably borrowed from Old Norse *hernest "provisions for an armed force," from herr "host, army" + nest "provisions," going back to Germanic *nesta- (whence also Old English nest "food, provisions," Old High German -nest, in weganest "provisions for a journey"), derivative, with the noun and adjective suffix -to-, from the base of *nesan- "to save, be saved, return safely" — more at harry, nostalgia

Note: The Norse word was presumably assimilated to the French nominal and adjectival suffix -eis (going back to Latin -ēnsis; compare -ese entry 1), so that the compound was resegmented as harn-eis.

Verb

Middle English harneysen, harneyschen, hernessen "to equip with arms or armor, place accoutrements on a horse or ox, dress," borrowed from Anglo-French harneiser, herneiser, hernescher "to make ready, equip" (continental Old French harneschier, herneschier), derivative of harneis "equipment of a man-at-arms, baggage" — more at harness entry 1

First Known Use

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Verb

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of harness was in the 14th century

Dictionary Entries Near harness

Cite this Entry

“Harness.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harness. Accessed 27 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

harness

1 of 2 noun
har·​ness ˈhär-nəs How to pronounce harness (audio)
1
: the straps and fastenings by which an animal pulls a load
2
: an arrangement that resembles a harness

harness

2 of 2 verb
1
: to put a harness on
2
: to tie together : yoke
3
: to put to work : utilize
harness the sun's energy to heat homes

More from Merriam-Webster on harness

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