verb har·ry \ˈher-ē, ˈha-rē\

Definition of harry




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to make a pillaging or destructive raid on :  assault

  3. 2 :  to force to move along by harassing harrying the terrified horses down out of the mountains — R. A. Sokolov

  4. 3 :  to torment by or as if by constant attack

harry was our Word of the Day on 01/25/2016. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

Was there once a warlike man named Harry who is the source for the verb harry? One particularly belligerent Harry does come to mind: Shakespeare once described how "famine, sword, and fire" accompanied "the warlike Harry," England's King Henry the Fifth. But neither this king nor any of his namesakes are the source for the verb. Rather, harry (or a word resembling it) has been a part of English for as long as there has been anything that could be called English. It took the form hergian in Old English and harien in Middle English, passing through numerous variations before finally settling into its modern spelling. The word's Old English ancestors are related to Old High German words heriōn ("to lay waste") and heri ("army").

Origin and Etymology of harry

Middle English harien, from Old English hergian; akin to Old High German heriōn to lay waste, heri army, Greek koiranos ruler

First Known Use: before 12th century

Synonym Discussion of harry

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.

HARRY Defined for Kids


verb har·ry \ˈher-ē\

Definition of harry for Students




  1. :  harass The invaders harried the village's residents.

Seen and Heard

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capable of being understood in two ways

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