"a public address; a formal, vehement, or passionate address;" also "any formal or pompous speech; a declamation; a tirade," mid-15c., arang, Scottish (in English from c. 1600), from French harangue "a public address" (14c.), from Old Italian aringo "public square, platform; pulpit; arena," from a Germanic source such as Old High German hring "circle" (see ring (n.1)) on the notion of "circular gathering," with an -a- inserted to ease Romanic pronunciation of Germanic hr- (compare hamper (n.1)).
But Watkins and Barnhart suggest a Germanic compound, *harihring "circular gathering, assembly," literally "host-ring, army-ring," with first element *hari- "war-band, host" (see harry (v.)). From the same Germanic "ring" root via Romanic come rank (n.), range (v.), arrange.
"to address in a harangue; to deliver a harangue," 1650s, from French haranguer (15c.), from harangue (see harangue (n.)). Related: Harangued; haranguing.
1610s, "to lay waste, devastate" (obsolete); 1620s, "to vex by repeated attacks," from French harasser "tire out, vex" (16c.), which is of uncertain origin; possibly from Old French harer "stir up, provoke; set a dog on" (according to Watkins, from Frankish *hara "over here, hither," from Proto-Germanic *hi‑, from PIE *ki-, variant form of root *ko-, the stem of demonstrative pronoun meaning "this"), and perhaps blended with Old French harier "to harry, draw, drag" [Barnhart]. Related: Harassed; harassing.
Harass, as applied to mind or body, suggests the infliction of the weariness that comes from the continuance or repetition of trying experiences, so that there is not time for rest. Torment implies the infliction of acute pain, physical or mental, and is frequently used in the sense of harassing by frequent return. [Century Dictionary, 1897]
"lodging for ships; sheltered recess in a coastline," early 12c., a specialized sense of Middle English herberwe "temporary dwelling place, quarters, lodgings; an inn; the camp of an army in the field," probably from Old English here-beorg (West Saxon), *here-berg (Anglian) "lodgings, quarters," from Proto-Germanic compound *harja-bergaz "shelter, lodgings," from *heri "army, host" (see harry (v.)) + *burzjan- "protection, shelter" (from PIE root *bhergh- (1) "to hide, protect"). Perhaps modeled on Old Norse herbergi "room, lodgings, quarters."
Old English heard "solid and firm, not soft," also, "difficult to endure, carried on with great exertion," also, of persons, "severe, rigorous, harsh, cruel," from Proto-Germanic *hardu- (source also of Old Saxon hard, Old Frisian herd, Dutch hard, Old Norse harðr "hard," Old High German harto "extremely, very," German hart, Gothic hardus "hard"), from PIE *kortu-, suffixed form of root *kar- "hard."
Meaning "difficult to do" is from c. 1200. Of water, in reference to the presence of mineral salts, 1650s; of consonants, 1775. Hard of hearing preserves obsolete Middle English sense of "having difficulty in doing something." In the sense "strong, spiritous, fermented" from 1789 (as in hard cider, etc.), and this use probably is the origin of that in hard drugs (1955). Hard facts is from 1853; hard news in journalism is from 1918. Hard copy (as opposed to computer record) is from 1964; hard disk is from 1978; the computer hard drive is from 1983. Hard times "period of poverty" is from 1705. Hard money (1706) is specie, silver or gold coin, as opposed to paper. Hence 19c. U.S. hard (n.) "one who advocates the use of metallic money as the national currency" (1844). To play hard to get is from 1945. Hard rock as a pop music style recorded from 1967. To do something the hard way is from 1907.