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harass

[huh-ras, har-uh s] /həˈræs, ˈhær əs/
verb (used with object)
1.
to disturb persistently; torment, as with troubles or cares; bother continually; pester; persecute.
2.
to trouble by repeated attacks, incursions, etc., as in war or hostilities; harry; raid.
Origin
1610-1620
1610-20; < French, Middle French harasser to harry, harass, v. derivative of harace, harache (in phrase courre a la harace pursue) = 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
Related forms
harassable, adjective
harasser, noun
harassingly, adverb
harassment, noun
overharass, verb (used with object)
unharassed, adjective
Synonyms
1. badger, vex, plague, hector torture. See worry. 2. molest.
Pronunciation note
harass , a 17th-century French borrowing, has traditionally been pronounced
[har-uh s] /ˈhær əs/ (Show IPA)
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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for harass
  • Collection agencies harass workers at their places of employment, threatening their jobs.
  • They watch other birds fish, then harass them until they drop their catches.
  • If I were to get harassed on a website, i would simply report the person who is harassing me.
  • Inside the zoo were a new public alert system and signs warning visitors not to harass the animals.
  • Cyberstalking is defined as repeated threats or harassing
  • Plans were then made to harass the school board.
  • You can harass a fortified position, for example, if you plan well.
  • I've never understood why some motorists feel the need to harass bicyclists on the road.
  • Go harass someone else, maybe they will make you feel complete.
British Dictionary definitions for harass

harass

/ˈhærəs; həˈræs/
verb
1.
(transitive) to trouble, torment, or confuse by continual persistent attacks, questions, etc
Derived Forms
harassed, adjective
harassing, adjective, noun
harassment, noun
Word Origin
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
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Word Origin and History for harass
v.

1610s, from French harasser "tire out, vex," possibly from Old French harer "set a dog on," and perhaps blended with Old French harier "to harry, draw, drag" [Barnhart]. Originally "to lay waste, devastate," sense of "distress" is from 1650s. Related: Harassed; harassing.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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