har·​ry | \ ˈher-ē How to pronounce harry (audio) , ˈha-rē \
harried; harrying

Definition of harry

transitive verb

1 : to make a pillaging or destructive raid on : assault
2 : to force to move along by harassing harrying the terrified horses down out of the mountains— R. A. Sokolov
3 : to torment by or as if by constant attack

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Choose the Right Synonym for 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

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").

Examples of harry in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Indiana pounded the paint early, bossed Michigan State on the boards and harried every screen. Zach Osterman, Indianapolis Star, "IU basketball plays big, holds off Michigan State," 24 Jan. 2020 Rebel groups had continued to harry government forces, however, from outside the city with mortar rounds. Sarah El Deeb, BostonGlobe.com, "Assad’s forces make advances, further securing Aleppo region," 16 Feb. 2020 Before that pass, the 49ers harried Mahomes as few teams have. Kevin Draper, New York Times, "Third-and-Long, Then the Pass That Saved the Chiefs," 2 Feb. 2020 Each Villa player never gave their opponents a seconds rest, constantly harrying and chasing down. SI.com, "Aston Villa 1-2 Liverpool: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Reds Seal Win With Dramatic Late Double," 2 Nov. 2019 During the Cultural Revolution of 1966-76, when sacred sites were razed by Maoist zealots and countless priests and monks were harried to death, the temple became a primary school. The Economist, "China’s atheist Communist Party encourages folk religion," 19 Sep. 2019 The second-movement Larghetto was appropriately restrained, but the finale was harried, even frantic. Exposed high writing for violins in the outer movements wasn’t always tidy. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Guest conductor Jader Bignamini pumps up the Dallas Symphony with lots of decibels," 17 Jan. 2020 His voice was deep if slightly harried, and his face impassive. The Economist, "Inside Aspen: the mountain retreat for the liberal elite," 11 Oct. 2019 Salzburg deserve immense praise for their efforts in the match, harrying the home side without fear, but one player who did stand tall for Liverpool throughout the 90 minutes was Roberto Firmino. SI.com, "Liverpool 4-3 Red Bull Salzburg: Report, Ratings & Reaction as Reds Survive Stirring Comeback," 2 Oct. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harry.' 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 harry

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for harry

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

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The first known use of harry was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry

“Harry.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harry. Accessed 5 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for harry


har·​ry | \ ˈher-ē How to pronounce harry (audio) \
harried; harrying

Kids Definition of harry

: harass The invaders harried the village's residents.

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More from Merriam-Webster on harry

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for harry

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with harry

Spanish Central: Translation of harry

Nglish: Translation of harry for Spanish Speakers

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