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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 of harass
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. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for harassing
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Nevertheless, nearly two years of harassing guerilla warfare were in store for the Colony.

    The Long White Cloud William Pember Reeves
  • Peremptorily I dismissed these harassing and frightful doubts.

    The Room in the Dragon Volant J. Sheridan LeFanu
  • The other Esquires would have joined in harassing her had not Gurnemanz stayed them.

  • After all, Correy had no more than put into words some fears which had been harassing me.

    Priestess of the Flame Sewell Peaslee Wright
  • This was the policy of avoiding battle and seeking to wear the enemy out, while harassing him at every opportunity.

British Dictionary definitions for harassing

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 harassing

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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