From Old French harasser (“to tire out, to vex”), of obscure origin, perhaps from Old French harer (“to stir up, provoke, set a dog on”) and/or Old French harier (“to harry”); see harry; compare Old French harace (“a basket made of cords”), harace, harasse (“a very heavy and large shield”).
- (General American) enPR: hərăsʹ, hăʹrəs, IPA(key): /həˈɹæs/, /ˈhæɹəs/
- (Received Pronunciation) enPR: hăʹrəs, hərăsʹ, IPA(key): /ˈhæɹəs/, /həˈɹæs/
Audio (UK) (file)
- Rhymes: -æs, -æɹəs
- To fatigue or to tire with repeated and exhausting efforts.
- To annoy endlessly or systematically.
- 1829 June 10 (date written), [Washington Irving], “[The Legend of Don Roderick.] Of the Ancient Inhabitants of Spain—of the Misrule of Witiza the Wicked.”, in Legends of the Conquest of Spain (The Crayon Miscellany; no. 3), Philadelphia, Pa.: [Henry Charles] Carey, [Isaac] Lea, & Blanchard, published 1835, OCLC 2031465, page 11:
- Spain, or Iberia, as it was called in ancient days, has been a country harassed from the earliest times, by the invader.
- 1877, Anna Sewell, Black Beauty Chapter 23
- In my old home, I always knew that John and my master were my friends; but here, although in many ways I was well treated, I had no friend. York might have known, and very likely did know, how that rein harassed me; but I suppose he took it as a matter of course that could not be helped; at any rate nothing was done to relieve me.
- To put excessive burdens upon; to subject to anxieties.
- To harass good people is no different than speaking ill of them.
- harass in Webster’s Revised Unabridged Dictionary, G. & C. Merriam, 1913.
- harass in The Century Dictionary, New York, N.Y.: The Century Co., 1911.