[ uhn-hahr-nis ]

verb (used with object)
  1. to strip of harness; detach the harness from (a horse, mule, etc.).

  2. to divest of armor, as a knight or warhorse.

Origin of unharness

First recorded in 1400–50, unharness is from the Middle English word onharnesen.See un-2, harness

Words Nearby unharness

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

How to use unharness in a sentence

  • So Mr. George and Rollo dismounted, and the hostlers came out from the stable to unharness the horses.

    Rollo in Holland | Jacob Abbott
  • O Maruts, you have rejoiced in it clearly, put down then all anger and unharness your horses!

  • Men unharness the steeds from his triumphal car, and draw him in triumph through the flower-garlanded streets.

    Ruth Hall | Fanny Fern
  • "You needn't unharness," shouted Mrs. Failing, for Stephen was approaching the carriage.

    The Longest Journey | E. M. Forster
  • Nor was there time to unharness the animal, but he was detached by summarily cutting the harness.

British Dictionary definitions for unharness


/ (ʌnˈhɑːnɪs) /

  1. to remove the harness from (a horse, etc)

  2. archaic to remove the armour from

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