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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce harass (audio)

Dictionary definition of harass

To persistently subject someone to unwanted, repeated, or aggressive behavior that causes distress, annoyance, or intimidation.
"Online bullies use social media platforms to harass their victims anonymously."

Detailed meaning of harass

When one harasses another, they engage in actions or behaviors that aim to torment, bother, or persecute the target. Harassment can take various forms, such as verbal abuse, threats, insults, stalking, unwanted advances, or discriminatory actions. The intention behind harassment is to create a hostile or uncomfortable environment, instill fear, exert power, or cause emotional harm. It involves a pattern of repeated actions that disregard the boundaries, well-being, or rights of the individual being targeted. Harassment can occur in different settings, including the workplace, schools, public spaces, or online platforms. It is considered a form of aggression and is often subject to legal consequences. Overall, to harass is to engage in persistent and unwelcome actions or behaviors that cause distress or harm to another person.

Example sentences containing harass

1. Dogs can sometimes harass mail carriers, making their jobs quite difficult.
2. They urge the public not to harass wildlife in their natural habitats.
3. Protesters continue to harass the government officials in power, seeking reform.
4. You must never harass someone because of their race or ethnicity.
5. Parents advise their children not to harass the new kid at school.
6. Internet trolls can often harass online creators, hiding behind the anonymity of their screens.

History and etymology of harass

The verb 'harass' has a somewhat complex etymology, with roots in both French and Middle English. It can be traced back to the Old French word 'harer,' which meant 'to set a dog on' or 'to attack.' This word, in turn, came from the Old High German 'heri' meaning 'army' or 'host,' and 'harran' meaning 'to call' or 'to cry out.' In Middle English, 'harass' evolved to mean 'to exhaust or wear down by constant attack or pressure.' Over time, its meaning shifted to include the idea of persistently subjecting someone to unwanted, repeated, or aggressive behavior that causes distress, annoyance, or intimidation, reflecting its modern usage in the English language. The term 'harass' thus carries a historical connotation of relentless and troublesome actions, as if one were constantly pursued by a relentless force, whether human or animal.

Quiz: Find the meaning of harass

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Further usage examples of harass

1. Too many phone calls can harass an individual, leading to increased stress and anxiety.
2. Please don't harass the customer service representative; they're just doing their job.
3. Telemarketers sometimes harass people during dinner time, making it harder for families to enjoy a peaceful meal.
4. Persistent collectors may harass people in debt, causing undue emotional distress.
5. Some politicians may harass their opponents during election season.
6. Overzealous fans can unintentionally harass celebrities, not respecting their need for privacy.
7. Reporters must ensure they don't harass sources while pursuing a story.
8. Businesses should never harass customers with incessant marketing.
9. Disruptive students harass teachers, making it harder for them to conduct classes.
10. In the digital age, cyberbullies can harass individuals with relative ease.
11. Tourists shouldn't harass wildlife by trying to feed or touch them.
12. It's important that we don't harass store employees during the busy holiday season.
13. Aggressive salespeople sometimes harass shoppers, pushing them to make a purchase.
14. Researchers are careful not to harass the communities they study, respecting their rights and customs.



bother, comfort, support, reassure


Annoyance and Irritation, Middle School 7, Harmful and Detrimental

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