If someone is abusing, insulting, or otherwise harming you on a regular basis, it's called harassment. Cruel and usually really annoying, harassment is also illegal in some cases.

Harassment is a word that describes any kind of ongoing torment. At school, harassment is often known as bullying. In the workplace, employees need to be careful about sexual harassment. Harassment involves persistent attacks or abuse, and can range from shouting racial slurs to crank calling your ex-boyfriend every night at 3am. Even teasing your kid sister about her braces could be considered harassment.

Definitions of harassment

n the act of tormenting by continued persistent attacks and criticism

show 6 types...
hide 6 types...
harassment especially of a tethered animal
badgering, bedevilment, torment, worrying
the act of harassing someone
sexual harassment
unwelcome sexual behavior by a supervisor toward an employee
ribbing, tantalization, tease, teasing
the act of harassing someone playfully or maliciously (especially by ridicule); provoking someone with persistent annoyances
searching out and harassing dissenters
unscrupulously accusing people of disloyalty (as by saying they were Communists)
Type of:
the practice of treating (someone or something) badly

n a feeling of intense annoyance caused by being tormented

“so great was his harassment that he wanted to destroy his tormentors”
Type of:
annoyance, chafe, vexation
anger produced by some annoying irritation

Sign up, it's free!

Whether you're a student, an educator, or a lifelong learner, Vocabulary.com can put you on the path to systematic vocabulary improvement.