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

Prosecutors have indeed harried the chaebol under Mr Moon. The Economist, "South Korea’s left-wing president loses his zeal to humble big business," 22 June 2019 Doctors and nurses stepped over legs and bodies, the nurses harried and short-tempered. Lynn Freed, Harper's magazine, "We Were So Happy Then," 10 Mar. 2019 The humiliation of Kraft Heinz will come as a relief to the harried of bosses of rival food companies, particularly Europe’s lumbering giants Unilever , Danone and Nestlé . Carol Ryan, WSJ, "The Failure of Kraft Heinz and the Future of Big Food," 22 Feb. 2019 Teams which are not particularly easy on the eye, but sides that get the job done; a group of players who hustle, harry, work hard and dig in. SI.com, "Big Picture: How Burnley Evolved From Free-Flowing Party Boys Into Rock-Solid European Contenders," 14 Mar. 2018 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

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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Statistics for harry

Last Updated

12 Jul 2019

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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 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

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with harry

Spanish Central: Translation of harry

Nglish: Translation of harry for Spanish Speakers

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