harass

[ huh-ras, har-uhs ]
/ həˈræs, ˈhær əs /

verb (used with object)

to disturb persistently; torment, as with troubles or cares; bother continually; pester; persecute.
to trouble by repeated attacks, incursions, etc., as in war or hostilities; harry; raid.

Origin of harass

1610–20; < French, Middle French harasser to harry, harass, verbal derivative of harace, harache (in phrase courre a la harace pursue), equivalent to hare cry used to urge dogs on (< Frankish *hara here, from this side; compare Old High German hera, Middle Dutch hare) + -asse augmentative or pejorative suffix < Latin -ācea

SYNONYMS FOR harass

1 badger, vex, plague, hector torture. See worry.
2 molest.

Related forms

Pronunciation note

harass , a 17th-century French borrowing, has traditionally been pronounced [har-uhs] /ˈhær əs/, with stress on the first syllable. A newer pronunciation, [huh-ras] /həˈræs/, has developed in North American (but not British) English. While this newer pronunciation is sometimes criticized by older educated speakers, it has become the more common one in the U.S., especially among younger educated speakers, some of whom have only minimal familiarity with the older form.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for harass

British Dictionary definitions for harass

harass

/ (ˈhærəs, həˈræs) /

verb

(tr) to trouble, torment, or confuse by continual persistent attacks, questions, etc

Derived Forms

harassed, adjectiveharassing, adjective, nounharassment, noun

Word Origin for harass

C17: from French harasser, variant of Old French harer to set a dog on, of Germanic origin; compare Old High German harēn to cry out
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