Etymology
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agonize (v.)

1580s, "to torture" (trans.), from French agoniser (14c.) or directly from Medieval Latin agonizare "to labor, strive, contend," also "be at the point of death," from Greek agonizesthai "contend in the struggle, contend for victory or a prize" (in reference to physical combat, stage competitions, lawsuits), from agonia "a struggle for victory," originally "a struggle for victory in the games" (see agony). Intransitive sense of "suffer extreme physical pain" is recorded from 1660s; mental sense of "to worry intensely" is from 1853. Related: Agonized; agonizing.

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badger (v.)

"to attack persistently, worry, pester," 1790, from badger (n.), based on the behavior of the dogs in the medieval sport of badger-baiting, still practiced in late 19c. England as an attraction to low public houses. Related: Badgered; badgering.

A badger is put into a barrel, and one or more dogs are put in to drag him out. When this is effected he is returned to his barrel, to be similarly assailed by a fresh set of dogs. The badger usually makes a most determined and savage resistance. [Century Dictionary]
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sorrow (n.)

Old English sorg "grief, regret, trouble, care, pain, anxiety," from Proto-Germanic *sorg- (source also of Old Saxon sorga, Old Norse sorg, Middle Dutch sorghe, Dutch zorg, Old High German soraga, German sorge, Gothic saurga), perhaps from PIE *swergh- "to worry, be sick" (source also of Sanskrit surksati "cares for," Lithuanian sergu, sirgti "to be sick," Old Church Slavonic sraga "sickness," Old Irish serg "sickness"). Not connected etymologically with sore (adj.) or sorry.

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tease (v.)
formerly also teaze, Old English tæsan "pluck, pull, tear; pull apart, comb" (fibers of wool, flax, etc.), from Proto-Germanic *taisijan (source also of Danish tæse, Middle Dutch tesen, Dutch tezen "to draw, pull, scratch," Old High German zeisan "to tease, pick wool").

The original sense is of running thorns through wool or flax to separate, shred, or card the fibers. The figurative sense of "vex, worry, annoy" (sometimes done in good humor) emerged 1610s. For similar sense development, compare heckle. Hairdressing sense is recorded from 1957. Related: Teased; teasing; teasingly.
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cark (v.)
"to be weighed down or oppresssed by cares or worries, be concerned about" (archaic), early 12c., a figurative use, via Anglo-French from Old North French carkier "to load, burden," from Late Latin carcare "to load a wagon or cart," from Latin carrus "wagon" (see car). Compare Old North French carguer "charger," corresponding to Old French chargier. The literal sense in English, "to load, put a burden on," is from c. 1300. Related: Carked; carking.

Also as a noun in Middle English and after, "charge, responsibility; anxiety, worry; burden on the mind or spirit," (c. 1300), from Anglo-French karke, from Old North French form of Old French carche, variant of charge "load, burden, imposition" (source of charge (n.)).
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concern (v.)

early 15c., of persons, "to perceive, distinguish;" also, of things, "to refer to, relate to, pertain to," from Old French concerner (15c.) and directly from Medieval Latin concernere "concern, touch, belong to," figurative use of Late Latin concernere "to sift, mix as in a sieve," from assimilated form of Latin com "with, together" (see con-) + cernere "to sift," hence "perceive, comprehend" (from PIE root *krei- "to sieve," thus "discriminate, distinguish").

Apparently the sense of the first element shifted to intensive in Medieval Latin. From late 15c. as "to affect the interest of, be of importance to;" hence the meaning "to worry, disturb, make uneasy or anxious" (17c.). Reflexive use "busy, occupy, engage" ("concern oneself") is from 1630s. Related: Concerned; concerning.

Used imperatively from 1803 (compare similar use of confound); often rendered in dialect as consarn (1832), probably a euphemism for damn (compare concerned). Letter opening to whom it may concern attested by 1740.

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affray (n.)

c. 1300, "fear, terror, state of alarm produced by a sudden disturbance," from Old French affrai, effrei, esfrei "disturbance, fright," from esfreer (v.) "to worry, concern, trouble, disturb," from Vulgar Latin *exfridare, a hybrid word meaning literally "to take out of peace."

The first element is from Latin ex "out of" (see ex-). The second is Frankish *frithu "peace," from Proto-Germanic *frithuz "peace, consideration, forbearance" (source also of Old Saxon frithu, Old English friðu, Old High German fridu "peace, truce," German Friede "peace"), from a suffixed form of PIE root *pri- "to be friendly, to love."

Meaning "breach of the peace, riotous fight in public" is from late 15c., via the notion of "disturbance causing terror." The French verb also entered Middle English, as afrey "to terrify, frighten" (early 14c.), but it survives almost exclusively in its past participle, afraid (q.v.).

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poise (v.)

late 14c., poisen, "to have (a specified) weight," a sense now obsolete, from Old French poiser, stressed form of peser "to weigh, be heavy; weigh down, be a burden; worry, be a concern," from Vulgar Latin *pesare, from Latin pensare "to weigh carefully, weigh out, counter-balance," frequentative of pendere (past participle pensus) "to hang, cause to hang; weigh; pay" (from PIE root *(s)pen- "to draw, stretch, spin").

The meaning "to weigh, ascertain by weighing or balancing is from 1590s, hence the meaning "to hold or place in equilibrium or balance," from 1630s (compare equipoise). The intransitive sense of "be balanced or suspended," figuratively "to hang in suspense" is by 1847; the passive sense of "to be ready" (for or to do something) is by 1932. Related: Poised; poising. In 15c. a poiser was an official who weighed goods. The secondary sense of "to ponder, consider" in Latin pensare yielded pensive; that sense was occasional, but rare in Middle English poise.

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harry (v.)

Old English hergian "make war, lay waste, ravage, plunder," the word used in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle for what the Vikings did to England, from Proto-Germanic *harjon (source also of Old Frisian urheria "lay waste, ravage, plunder," Old Norse herja "to make a raid, to plunder," Old Saxon and Old High German herion, German verheeren "to destroy, lay waste, devastate"). This is literally "to overrun with an army," from Proto-Germanic *harjan "an armed force" (source also of Old English here, Old Norse herr "crowd, great number; army, troop," Old Saxon and Old Frisian heri, Dutch heir, Old High German har, German Heer, Gothic harjis "a host, army").

The Germanic words come from PIE root *korio- "war" also "war-band, host, army" (source also of Lithuanian karas "war, quarrel," karias "host, army;" Old Church Slavonic kara "strife;" Middle Irish cuire "troop;" Old Persian kara "host, people, army;" Greek koiranos "ruler, leader, commander"). Weakened sense of "worry, goad, harass" is from c. 1400. Related: Harried; harrying.

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fret (v.)

Old English fretan "devour, feed upon, consume," from Proto-Germanic compound *fra-etan "to eat up," from *fra- "completely" (from PIE root *per- (1) "forward," hence "through") + *etan "to eat" (from PIE root *ed- "to eat"). Cognates include Dutch vreten, Old High German frezzan, German fressen, Gothic fraitan.

Used of monsters and Vikings; in Middle English used of animals' eating. Notion of "wear away by rubbing or scraping" (c. 1200) might have come to this word by sound-association with Anglo-French forms of Old French froter "to rub, wipe; beat, thrash," which is from Latin fricare "to rub" (see friction). Figurative use is from c. 1200, of emotions, sins, vices, etc., "to worry, consume, vex" someone or someone's heart or mind, from either the "eating" or the "rubbing" sense. Intransitive sense "be worried, vex oneself" is by 1550s. Modern German still distinguishes essen for humans and fressen for animals. Related: Fretted; fretting. As a noun, early 15c., "a gnawing," also "the wearing effect" of awareness of wrongdoing, fear, etc.

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