har·​ry | \ˈher-ē, 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

In the Cold War, the U.S. called on naval forces to harry the Soviets on their naval flanks and distract them from Germany’s heartland. Seth Cropsey, WSJ, "How to Win a Cold War With Beijing," 25 Oct. 2018 Not Sweden, which is harrying Switzerland everywhere. The Associated Press, New York Times, "Sweden Makes World Cup Quarterfinals for First Time Since 1994," 5 July 2018 The days of Egidio Arevalo Rio scuttling around midfield harrying anything that moved have gone. Jonathan Wilson, SI.com, "Manager Oscar Tabarez Wields His Influence to Mold, Adapt, Embody Uruguay," 5 July 2018 From its start in 2016, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government has been harried to the point of derangement by Conservative Party infighting over Britain’s impending departure from the European Union. Joseph C. Sternberg, WSJ, "Finding the Right Right for Europe," 5 July 2018 Not for one second though did Mr. Faye give the impression of being harried. New York Times, "A French-Rwandan Rap Star Turned Novelist From Burundi," 29 May 2018 In theory, Vidal would be the ideal player to hassle and harry Luka Modric and Toni Kroos in midfield and drive the Germans forward, and so news of his injury will come as a bitter blow. SI.com, "Bayern Munich Hit With Blow as Arturo Vidal Suffers Knee Injury in Training," 15 Apr. 2018 The trailer was a lot of Morris Chestnut being stern and Carpenter being harried. Daniel Fienberg, The Hollywood Reporter, "NBCUniversal's New Show Trailers: A Critic's Ranking," 14 May 2018 Zanka and Schindler prostrated themselves before every shot; Depoitre and Mooy harried for every ball; Jonas Lossl made one of the saves of the season. SI.com, "Huddersfield Town Keep the Magic Alive in a League of Big Spenders and Heavy Hitters," 10 May 2018

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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Last Updated

29 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for harry

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

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More Definitions for harry


har·​ry | \ˈher-ē \
harried; harrying

Kids Definition of harry

: harass The invaders harried the village's residents.

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More from Merriam-Webster on harry

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with harry

Spanish Central: Translation of harry

Nglish: Translation of harry for Spanish Speakers

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to move with a clumsy heavy tread

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