- To speak in a boring tone.
- To speak continuously about something that is not interesting.
- To emphasize on something that it puts other people off.
- He kept harping on about something. I had stopped paying attention a long while back.
- My history teacher gets too carried away even when talking personally. He has a habit of harping on and on.
- Her daughter kept harping on about buying that toy but she did not budge.
- I don't like people that harp on about the past, it is better to live in the present.
- He harped on money so much and look at him now, left with absolutely nothing.
- He needs to understand that his daughters are now teenagers. He can't just harp on about rules now.
The phrase has been around since the 1600's. A harp is a musical instrument which is so soothing that can put people to sleep. The origination is speculated to be from this point about something being able to put someone off to sleep. It later changed into being boring and hence putting people off.
The phrase was used in 'Hamlet' by Shakespeare in the year 1602.