View synonyms for harass


[ huh-ras, har-uhs ]

verb (used with object)

  1. to disturb or bother persistently; torment, as with troubles or cares; pester:

    He stays up late, harassed with doubt and anxiety.

    Synonyms: annoy, hector, plague, vex, badger

  2. to intimidate or coerce, as with persistent demands or threats:

    Apparently a parent has been harassing the school principal with late-night phone calls.

  3. to subject to unwelcome sexual advances:

    I was harassed by my boss many years ago.

  4. to trouble by repeated attacks, incursions, etc., as in war or hostilities; harry; raid.

    Synonyms: beset, besiege


/ ˈhærəs; həˈræs /


  1. tr to trouble, torment, or confuse by continual persistent attacks, questions, etc

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Pronunciation Note

harass , a 17th-century borrowing from French, has traditionally been pronounced in English as [har, -, uh, s], with stress on the first syllable. A newer pronunciation, [h, uh, -, ras], has developed in North American (but not British) English and has become the more common one in the U.S., especially among younger speakers.
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Derived Forms

  • ˈharassing, adjectivenoun
  • ˈharassment, noun
  • ˈharassed, adjective
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Other Words From

  • ha·rassa·ble adjective
  • ha·rasser noun
  • ha·rassing·ly adverb
  • ha·rassment noun
  • over·harass verb (used with object)
  • un·ha·rassed adjective
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Word History and Origins

Origin of harass1

First recorded in 1610–20; from 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” (from Frankish hara (unattested) “here, from this side”; compare Old High German hera, Middle Dutch hare ) + -asse augmentative or pejorative suffix, from Latin -ācea
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Word History and Origins

Origin of harass1

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
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Synonym Study

See worry.
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Example Sentences

That investigation, which is being led by attorney Beth Wilkinson, was launched in July after The Post reported that 15 former female employees described being sexually harassed by male executives.

More than half of the workers who identified their perpetrator said they were harassed by someone to whom they reported at work, according to the analysis.

“Even the 14-year-old son of one of Smartmatic’s executives received a harassing phone call,” the lawsuit states.

Another worker, the one who felt harassed by Amazon’s anti-union messaging in the bathroom, worries about safety.

Mitt Romney and Lindsey Graham, who are Republicans, have all been harassed at airports in recent days.

From Time

Owning a restaurant, the EEOC attorney admonished at the time, “is not a license to sexually harass employees.”

Women are coming together online to shame men who harass and abuse them.

But airstrikes now would only serve to harass, not defeat, ISIS.

We may not be able to stop men from wanting to harass women but Internet technologies can easily be rebuilt.

The poster asked people to harass Zelich by cellphone and email.

Oh, madame, I tell you you do but waste time, and you punish me and harass yourself to little purpose.

Tempest thee noght, do not violently trouble or harass thyself, do not be in a state of agitation.

His low cunning invents numerous occasions to mortify and harass me.

He has erected a multitude of new offices, and sent hither swarms of officers, to harass our people and eat out their substance.

In this as in former wars she sent out her privateers to harass the enemys commerce.