English Words in Action, Group H

(a variety of English words which have developed through history and are currently used in our modern age)

English vocabulary quizzes in random order from easy to more difficult for greater word skills.

Simply click on this banner (or the following link) and you will be on your way to stimulate your brain for greater word comprehension with quizzes based on some of the words in this unit.

happy (adjective), happier, happiest
1. A reference to a feeling of pleasure and enjoyment because of one's situation, etc.: Winifred was a happy child playing with her toys and dolls.
2. Expressing, showing, or causing feelings of enjoyment or pleasure: Marla could hear her children's happy laughter as they were playing in the living room.

Ralph would be happier if the project could be completed sooner.

3. Used in a special greeting or wish for another person on a special occasion: Father said, "Happy birthday, Jim!"

Their friends called out, "Happy traveling, Alisha and Karl!"

harangue (s) (noun) (huh RANG), harangues (pl)
1. A blustering speech with ranting that is typically given in front of an audience: The university professor delivered a long harangue about the evils of plagiarism.
2. An oration or written speech that expresses strong emotions or beliefs: Some of the radio talk-show hosts spend most of their programs presenting one harangue after another.

There are all kinds of harangues; such as, those of a politician who is striving for votes or support for a legislative bill, or of a promotor who is trying to obtain money, or the lobbyist who is representing special interests, or any passionate young rebels who are trying to reform the government of their country.

3. Etymology:from [Middle English arang, "a speech to an assembly", from Old French harangue, from Old Italian aringa, from aringare, "to speak in public"; possibly from aringo, arring, "public square, meeting place", of Germanic origin.
A long ranting speech.
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A long noisy, ranting, public oration.
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harangue (huh RANG) (verb), harangues; harangued; haranguing
1. To speak to a person or to others in a forceful or angry way: As a liberal talk-show host, he is constantly haranguing Republicans or conservatives with his psycho-talk.
2. To criticize or to question someone, or to try to persuade someone to do something in a forceful angry way: The politician harangued voters for their failure to support the economic stimulus plan.

It seems that some government legislators never tire of haranguing their fellow members either for support of their particular bills or to denounce the opposition for not giving their approval.

haranguer (huh RANG uhr) (s) (noun), haranguers (pl)
A person who uses loud, forceful, or angry speech in a vehement or strong and persuasive way: There is a reserved location in the local park of the city for those haranguers who want to make speeches about social issues.
harass (verb), harasses; harassed; harassing
1. To persistently annoy, to attack, or to bother somebody: Mary's little sibling is always harassing her to play games.
2. To impede and exhaust an enemy by attacking repeatedly or with repeated raids: The military troops continued to harass the entrenched rebels who were hiding in caves.
3. To irritate or to torment persistently: Jillian watched the small bird as it continued to harass the large crow that was flying over the garden.
4. To wear out; to exhaust: Janine was harassed by all the demands of her new job and she felt totally exhausted by the end of the first week.

Just about everyone has been harassed at one time or another, and at such times it may seem that each individual is being "hounded" unmercifully by those who oppose them.

5. Etymology: from French harasser, from which harass is derived and which has the same range of meanings as its English counterpart, and it is derived from the Middle French harer, meaning "to set a dog on".

This verb is derived from Old French hare, a cry used to encourage hunting dogs during the chase.

Although hare is of Germanic origin, akin to Old High German hara, hera, "hither", and hiar, "here"; its specific origin seems to be unknown.

—Compiled from information located in Webster's Word Histories;
Merriam-Webster, Inc., Publishers; Springfield, Massachusetts; 1989.
To annoy or to vex and to disturb.
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harassment (s) (noun), harassments (pl)
Annoying or unpleasant behaviors toward someone that takes place regularly or often: Harassments include such things as, threats, offensive remarks, or physical attacks.
harbinger (s) (noun), harbingers (pl)
1. Someone or something that warns about a future event: The warmer weather might be a harbinger that spring is finally coming.
2. Something that indicates or points out what is to come; a forerunner: The improvement in the company's sales is a harbinger of better economic conditions in Bruce's community.

Frost and the falling of leaves are harbingers of winter.

The completions of the objectives of the project are harbingers of better working conditions for the workers.

3. Etymology: from Middle English herbengar, "a person sent ahead to arrange lodgings", from Old French herbergeor, from herbergier, "to provide lodging for", from herberge, "lodging" or "army shelter" (from heri, "army" + berga, "shelter").
Something or a person who comes in advance to announce or to indicate that a situation is going to take place.
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A forerunner or sign giving notice of the arrival of something.
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An omen, sign, or a forerunner of the future.
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hardy (adjective); hardier, hardiest
1. A reference to a person who is robust, sturdy, and in good health: Most soldiers are hardy men who face difficult situations.
2. Capable of surviving in unfavorable conditions, such as cold weather or a lack of moisture: The hardiest plants are those that exist in deserts or in extreme weather conditions year after year.
Confident and resolute.
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harrowing (adjective); more harrowing, most harrowing
Descriptive of causing distress, pain or upsetting someone: Alice has given a harrowing account and description of her battle with cancer.
Grievously distressing experience.
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Upsetting by receiving bad news about medical treatment.
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Disturbing because of so many efforts while playing golf.
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Go to this Word A Day Revisited Index
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haughty (adjective), haughtier, haughtiest
Pertaining to those who show an attitude of superiority and superciliousness or who indicate that they are better, smarter, or more important than other people: The new computer-graduate programmer rejected the company's job offer with haughty disdain or contempt.

A haughty person treats other people as if they are inferior and not worth being around.

haunt (s) (noun), haunts (pl)
A place or places that are frequently visited: Some libraries are haunts for people who want to use the computers to access the internet.

The local snack bar was Mildred's favorite haunt for writing her stories.

haunt (HAWNT) (verb), haunts; haunted; haunting
1. To visit often; to frequent: They haunted the movie theaters at least twice a week.
2. To obsess the mind constantly until it is relieved by coming to a solution: Not knowing the meaning of the word haunted Harriet until she found its definition.
3. To be continually present in; to pervade: All of the terrible things that are happening in the world haunt a lot of people.
4. To inhabit, to visit, or to appear in the form of a ghost or other supernatural being: There were those who thought the old house was being haunted by ghosts because of the strange noises that the neighbors frequently heard late in the nights.
haunted (adjective), more haunted, most haunted
1. Upset or troubled: Mike was a strange person who always appeared to have haunted feelings about what happened to his son during the war.
2. Lived in or visited by ghosts: That haunted house kept people away from it, including those who otherwise wanted to break in.
haunting (adjective), more haunting, most haunting
Pertaining to being sad or beautiful to such a degree that it is difficult to forget: The haunting sounds of the singer's voice could not be forgotten by many people in the audience.
hauntingly (adverb), more hauntingly, most hauntingly
A reference to having a problem of forgetting something because of its beauty or sadness: Lorna's hauntingly sad life, as a result of her family being burned to death in their house while she was visiting a friend, continually disturbed her for the rest of her life.

Links to all of the groups of English words in action, Groups A to Z.

You may see the bibliographic list of sources of information for these words in action.