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 ©2018 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
The American Heritage Dictionary Blog
Check out our blog, updated regularly, for new words and revised definitions, interesting images from the 5th edition, discussions of usage, and more.