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.
annoy continually or chronicallysee more
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goad or provoke, as by constant criticism
bedevil, crucify, dun, frustrate, rag, torment
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
cause to suffer
exhaust by attacking repeatedly