from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The gear or tackle, other than a yoke, with which a draft animal pulls a vehicle or implement.
  • n. Something resembling such gear or tackle, as the arrangement of straps used to hold a parachute to the body.
  • n. A device that raises and lowers the warp threads on a loom.
  • n. Archaic Armor for a man or horse.
  • transitive v. To put a harness on (a draft animal).
  • transitive v. To fasten by the use of a harness.
  • transitive v. To bring under control and direct the force of: If you can harness your energy, you will accomplish a great deal.
  • idiom in harness On duty or at work.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A restraint or support, especially one consisting of a loop or network of rope or straps.
  • n. A collection of wires or cables bundled and routed according to their function.
  • v. to place a harness on something; to tie up or restrain
  • v. to capture, control or put to use

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. Originally, the complete dress, especially in a military sense, of a man or a horse; hence, in general, armor.
  • n. The equipment of a draught or carriage horse, for drawing a wagon, coach, chaise, etc.; gear; tackling.
  • n. The part of a loom comprising the heddles, with their means of support and motion, by which the threads of the warp are alternately raised and depressed for the passage of the shuttle.
  • transitive v. To dress in armor; to equip with armor for war, as a horseman; to array.
  • transitive v. Fig.: To equip or furnish for defense.
  • transitive v. To make ready for draught; to equip with harness, as a horse. Also used figuratively.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To dress in armor; equip with armor for war, as a man or horse.
  • To fit out; equip; dress.
  • To equip or furnish for defense.
  • To put harness or working-tackle on, as a horse.
  • To fit up or put together with metal mountings.
  • To fasten to a boat by the toggle-iron and tow-line, as a whale.
  • n. The defensive armor and weapons of a soldier, especially of a knight; in general, and especially in modern poetical use, a suit of armor.
  • n. Clothing; dress; garments.
  • n. The working-gear or tackle of a horse, mule, ass, goat, dog, or other animal (except the ox) used for draft; the straps, collar, bridle, lines, traces, etc., put upon a draft-animal to enable it to work and to guide its actions. See cut in next column.
  • n. Hence Figuratively, working-tackle of any kind; an equipment for any kind of labor; also, that which fits or makes ready for labor: as, his duties keep him constantly in the harness.
  • n. The apparatus in a loom by which the sets of warp-threads are shifted alternately to form the shed. It consists of the heddles and their means of support and motion. Also called mounting.
  • n. The mechanism by which a large bell is suspended and tolled.
  • n. Temper; humor: alluding to the behavior of a horse in harness.
  • n. Nautical, an obsolete term for the furniture of a ship.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. exploit the power of
  • v. put a harness
  • n. stable gear consisting of an arrangement of leather straps fitted to a draft animal so that it can be attached to and pull a cart
  • v. control and direct with or as if by reins
  • n. a support consisting of an arrangement of straps for holding something to the body (especially one supporting a person suspended from a parachute)
  • v. keep in check


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

Middle English harnes, from Old French harneis, of Germanic origin; see nes-1 in Indo-European roots.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

Anglo-Norman harneis, Old French hernois ("equipment used in battle").



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  • ... I learned to harness and hitch and work a team. Wendell Berry "A Native Hill"

    July 19, 2008