"small hunting dog," 1540s, from Middle English hayrer, eirer (c. 1400) in the same sense, which is of uncertain origin. Possibly from French errier "wanderer" [Barnhart, Middle English Compendium], or associated with hare (n.), which they would have hunted. Influenced by harry (v.). The hawk genus (1550s) is from harry (v.).
Entries linking to harrier
Old English hara "hare," from Proto-West Germanic *hasan- (source also of Old Frisian hasa, Middle Dutch haese, Dutch haas, Old High German haso, German Hase), of uncertain origin; possibly the original sense was "gray" (compare Old English hasu, Old High German hasan "gray"), from PIE *khas- "gray" (source also of Latin canus "white, gray, gray-haired"). Perhaps cognate with Sanskrit sasah, Afghan soe, Welsh ceinach "hare." Rabbits burrow in the ground; hares do not.
þou hast a crokyd tunge heldyng wyth hownd and wyth hare. ["Jacob's Well," c. 1440]
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.
late 14c., "armed expedition," from Old French armée "armed troop, armed expedition" (14c.), from Medieval Latin armata "armed force," from Latin armata, fem. of armatus "armed, equipped, in arms," as a noun, "armed men, soldiers," past participle of armare "to arm," literally "act of arming," related to arma "tools, arms" (see arm (n.2)).
Originally used of expeditions on sea or land; restriction to "land force" is by late 18c. Transferred meaning "host, multitude" is c. 1500. Meaning "body of men trained and equipped for war" is from 1550s.
The Old English words were here (still preserved in derivatives such as harrier; see harry (v.)), from Proto-Germanic *harjan, from PIE *korio- "people, crowd;" and fierd, with an original sense of "expedition," from Proto-Germanic *farthi-, related to faran "travel" (see fare (v.)). In spite of etymology, in the Anglo-Saxon Chronicle here generally meant "invading Vikings" and fierd was used for the local militias raised to fight them. Army-ant is from 1863.