When you harass someone, you bother them to the point of exhaustion. It’s not that each attack is so severe, it’s the constant small attacks that wear someone out. If you harass your boss for a raise, you might end up getting fired instead!

Harass probably comes from the Old French word harer meaning "to set a dog on." Think of someone being hounded when you use this word. You can harass your parents with questions or requests, but in turn, they can also harass you to clean your room! While this is annoying, it's much worse if you are harassed in the sense of being verbally abused. The bully at school who harasses some poor kid will be subject to disciplinary action if a complaint is filed.

Definitions of harass
  1. verb
    annoy continually or chronically
    synonyms: beset, chevvy, chevy, chivvy, chivy, harry, hassle, molest, plague, provoke
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    goad, needle
    goad or provoke, as by constant criticism
    bedevil, crucify, dun, frustrate, rag, torment
    treat cruelly
    harass by imposing humiliating or painful tasks, as in military institutions
    drive up the wall; get on someone's nerves
    make ineffective or powerless
    badger, beleaguer, bug, pester, tease
    annoy persistently
    oppress, persecute
    cause to suffer
    type of:
    annoy, bother, chafe, devil, get at, get to, gravel, irritate, nark, nettle, rag, rile, vex
    cause annoyance in; disturb, especially by minor irritations
  2. verb
    exhaust by attacking repeatedly
    harass the enemy”
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    type of:
    aggress, attack
    take the initiative and go on the offensive
Word Family
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