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[has-uh l] /ˈhæs əl/ Informal.
a disorderly dispute.
a problem brought about by pressures of time, money, inconvenience, etc.:
Finding a decent place to have lunch in this neighborhood is always a hassle.
verb (used without object), hassled, hassling.
to dispute or quarrel:
children hassling over who has the most toys.
to take time or effort:
We don't want to hassle with all that waiting in line.
verb (used with object), hassled, hassling.
to bother, annoy, or harass:
I'll do the work, so don't hassle me.
Origin of hassle
First recorded in 1935-40; origin uncertain
Related forms
unhassled, adjective
1, 3. squabble, quarrel, row, scrap. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for hassle
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That done, they walked to hassle station, and took the first train to Hull.

    The Pit Prop Syndicate Freeman Wills Crofts
  • A hassle started, and the editor called the Honolulu police.

    The Unnecessary Man Gordon Randall Garrett
  • "That's enough," Muller cut through the beginnings of the hassle.

    Let'em Breathe Space Lester del Rey
  • He'd obviously got himself into a hassle maintaining his place in line against two or three heftier would-be soldiers.

    Mercenary Dallas McCord Reynolds
  • Who told you that there was a hassle between this guy and Slack?

    Warren Commission (10 of 26): Hearings Vol. X (of 15) The President's Commission on the Assassination of President Kennedy
British Dictionary definitions for hassle


a prolonged argument; wrangle
a great deal of trouble; difficulty; nuisance
(intransitive) to quarrel or wrangle
(transitive) to cause annoyance or trouble to (someone); harass
Word Origin
C20: of unknown origin
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hassle

1945, American English, perhaps from U.S. Southern dialectal hassle "to pant, breathe noisily" (1928), of unknown origin; or perhaps from hatchel "to harass" (1800), which may be a variant of hazel, the name of the plant that furnished switches for whippings. Noted in 1946 as a show biz vogue word.


1951, from hassle (n.). Related: Hassled; hassling.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Slang definitions & phrases for hassle



  1. A disagreement; quarrel; fight: A hassel between two actors touched off the riot/ The hassle over putting fluoride in drinking water
  2. A difficult or tedious task or concern: Getting those tickets was a real hassle


  1. : They were hassling about who would pay the bill
  2. (also hass) To harass; treat rudely and roughly: I went to an assistant DA and told him I wanted to discuss being hassled by the police/ What you going to do if you find the hobo that hassed him?
  3. To get narcotics with difficulty: He finally hassled one bag (1950s+ Narcotics)

[1920s+, but mainly 1940s+; origin unknown; probably fr hatchel, ''to harass,'' found by 1800, a hatchel being an instrument for beating flax, and related to heckle;perhaps fr hazel, with a variant hassle, the switch used for beatings; hazel oil meant ''a beating'' by 1678]

The Dictionary of American Slang, Fourth Edition by Barbara Ann Kipfer, PhD. and Robert L. Chapman, Ph.D.
Copyright (C) 2007 by HarperCollins Publishers.
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