One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Persistently carry out attacks on (an enemy or an enemy's territory)‘the raiders then spent three months harrying and burning the area’
attack, assail, assault, maraud, ravage, devastate, wreak havoc onView synonyms
- ‘To combat air attacks, and to harry the long-range German Focke-Wulf Kondor aircraft which acted as reconnaissance for the U-boats, makeshift efforts were made to give air cover, before escort carriers were introduced.’
- ‘The North was harried and the ancient church at Ripon burnt.’
- ‘Flying columns harried rebel territory throughout late November, and on 5 December the remnants of the peasant army were surrounded at Hasselt.’
- ‘Their mission is to blow up bridges, block roads and generally harry and destroy any enemy forces with which they come into contact.’
- ‘The king's adoption of Danish tactics in the winter of 878, such as his use of strongholds and small mobile raiding parties to harry the lands of his enemies, was forced upon him by immediate circumstances.’
- 1.1 Persistently harass.‘the government is being mercilessly harried by a new lobby’
harass, hound, pressurize, bring pressure to bear on, put pressure on, lean on, keep on at, go on at, chivvy, bedevil, torment, pester, bother, disturb, worry, annoy, badger, nag, plague, persecute, molestharassed, hard-pressed, beleaguered, agitated, flustered, bothered, troubled, distressed, vexed, beset, hag-ridden, hounded, plagued, tormentedView synonyms
- ‘Without firm figures, they continued to harry Doig to find them.’
- ‘‘All those years later we were still being harried by red tape and Turkish customs and coastguards,’ Dobson recalls.’
- ‘Andy Lawrie harried Clyde goalkeeper Bryn Halliwell sufficiently in the very opening assault to earn the first of two rapid corners.’
- ‘He continued to attack, harry and chase every ball and was rewarded late on with a dramatic Golden Goal.’
- ‘Second Thoughts looks at people's careers that turned in the space of just a few words - following three people who spoke out for what they believed in and were harried and criticised for it.’
- ‘Fabrizio Ravanelli had been impressive harrying the home defenders but had contributed little in attack until he took possession on the right touchline.’
Old English herian, hergian, of Germanic origin, probably influenced by Old French harier, in the same sense.
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