Definition of harass in English:
- A pensioner who was harassed by aggressive beggars in Swindon town centre has backed a campaign to stop vagrants pestering shoppers for cash.
- It would assume that anyone who says they don't own a car at all is lying and it would harass them continually with aggressive letters and vague threats.
- Both harass the unemployed, pressuring them further into exploitative employment.
- In addition the crusaders used light cavalry and horse archers in large numbers to harass the enemy, to scout, and to supplement the knights.
- Our pilots were used to harassing the enemy by strafing rail and truck areas, infantry and anything that moved.
- The wise general never gives battle but on favourable ground; and until he has found it, he manoeuvres, skirmishes, and harasses the enemy.
This came from French in the early 17th century and is probably from harer ‘to set a dog on’. The notion of intimidation arose during the 19th century, with sexual harassment acquiring particular prominence in the 1970s. The sound and sense of harass may be similar to those of harry, but the two are unrelated: harry (Old English) goes back to an ancient root meaning ‘army, host’, which also gave us the bird called a harrier (mid 16th century), but not the dogs (Late Middle English), which got their name from the hares they were bred to hunt.
There are two possible pronunciations of the word harass: one with the stress on the har- and the other with the stress on the -ass. The former pronunciation is the older one and is regarded by some people as the only correct one, especially in British English. However, the pronunciation with the stress on the second syllable -rass is very common and is now accepted as a standard alternative.
- Example sentences
- As a result of some histrionic accusations of being ‘sexist pornographers’ and sexual harassers, my friend and I were rousted from our beds by the campus Gestapo at a ridiculously early hour.
- A large group of the harassers, led by a security policewoman, surrounded the car and yelled abuse.
- It is akin to asking sexual harassers to assess themselves when it is obvious they find their behaviour acceptable on their own terms.
- Example sentences
- The trooper, still harassingly close behind, was also lingering and not turning on his lights.
- Nowadays these artificial limitations are no longer bound to exploding online costs or harassingly slow connections.
- If ‘activation’ should require that I had to apply to Adobe every time this happened, I'd consider it harassingly burdensome and unacceptable.
What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?
Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.