[ huh-ras, har-uhs ]
See synonyms for: harassharassedharassingharasser on Thesaurus.com

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.

  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.

  1. to subject to unwelcome sexual advances: I was harassed by my boss many years ago.

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

Origin of harass

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

synonym study For harass

1. See worry.

pronunciation note For harass

harass , a 17th-century borrowing from French, has traditionally been pronounced in English as [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 and has become the more common one in the U.S., especially among younger speakers.

Other words for harass

Other words from harass

  • 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

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use harass in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for harass


/ (ˈhærəs, həˈræs) /

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

Origin of 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

Derived forms of harass

  • harassed, adjective
  • harassing, adjective, noun
  • harassment, noun

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