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verb (used with object), har·ried, har·ry·ing.
  1. to harass, annoy, or prove a nuisance to by or as if by repeated attacks; worry: He was harried by constant doubts.
  2. to ravage, as in war; devastate: The troops harried the countryside.
verb (used without object), har·ried, har·ry·ing.
  1. to make harassing incursions.

Origin of harry

before 900; Middle English herien, Old English her(g)ian (derivative of here army); cognate with German verheeren, Old Norse herja to harry, lay waste
Related formsun·har·ried, adjective

Synonyms for harry

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for harried

Contemporary Examples of harried

Historical Examples of harried

  • We have been harried, and chivied, and shot at until we are driven into such dens as this.

    Micah Clarke

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Every day Alfred harried me, threatened me: I had to obey him.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • Her demands for money were constant: she harried her lover for money.

    A Nest of Spies

    Pierre Souvestre

  • O'Shea was not sorry to have the excuse, and harried off to make his toilet.

    One Of Them

    Charles James Lever

  • Ye've hounded me and harried me through th' woods all th' year!

    Blazed Trail Stories

    Stewart Edward White

British Dictionary definitions for harried


verb -ries, -rying or -ried
  1. (tr) to harass; worry
  2. to ravage (a town, etc), esp in war

Word Origin for harry

Old English hergian; related to here army, Old Norse herja to lay waste, Old High German heriōn
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

Word Origin and History for harried



Old English hergian "make war, lay waste, ravage, plunder," the word used in the "Anglo-Saxon Chronicle" for what the Vikings did to England, from Proto-Germanic verb *harohan (cf. Old Frisian urheria "lay waste, ravage, plunder," Old Norse herja "to make a raid, to plunder," Old Saxon and Old High German herion, German verheeren "to destroy, lay waste, devastate"), from *harjaz "an armed force" (cf. Old English here, Old Norse herr "crowd, great number; army, troop," Old Saxon and Old Frisian heri, Dutch heir, Old High German har, German Heer "host, army," Gothic harjis), from PIE root *koro- "war" (cf. Lithuanian karas "war, quarrel," karias "host, army;" Old Church Slavonic kara "strife;" Middle Irish cuire "troop;" Old Persian kara "host, people, army;" Greek koiranos "ruler, leader, commander"). Weakened sense of "worry, goad, harass" is from c.1400. Related: Harried; harrying.


masc. proper name, a familiar form of Henry. Weekley takes the overwhelming number of Harris and Harrison surnames as evidence that "Harry," not "Henry," was the Middle English pronunciation of Henry. Also cf. Harriet, English equivalent of French Henriette, fem. diminutive of Henri. Nautical slang Harriet Lane "preserved meat" (1896) refers to a famous murder victim whose killer allegedly chopped up her body.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper