1. The gear or tackle, other than a yoke, with which a draft animal pulls a vehicle or implement.
2. Something resembling such gear or tackle, as the arrangement of straps used to hold a parachute to the body.
3. A device that raises and lowers the warp threads on a loom.
4. Archaic Armor for a man or horse.
tr.v. har·nessed, har·ness·ing, har·ness·esIdiom:
a. To put a harness on (a draft animal).
b. To fasten by the use of a harness.
2. To bring under control and direct the force of: If you can harness your energy, you will accomplish a great deal.
On duty or at work.
[Middle English harnes, from Old French harneis, of Germanic origin; see nes-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.