harm

noun
\ ˈhärm How to pronounce harm (audio) \

Definition of harm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : physical or mental damage : injury the amount of harm sustained by the boat during the storm
2 : mischief, hurt I meant you no harm.

harm

verb
harmed; harming; harms

Definition of harm (Entry 2 of 2)

transitive verb

: to damage or injure physically or mentally : to cause harm (see harm entry 1) to No animals were harmed in the making of the film. the national interest … was gravely harmed by this attack— Elmer Davis

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Other Words from harm

Verb

harmer noun

Synonyms for harm

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for harm

Verb

injure, harm, hurt, damage, impair, mar mean to affect injuriously. injure implies the inflicting of anything detrimental to one's looks, comfort, health, or success. badly injured in an accident harm often stresses the inflicting of pain, suffering, or loss. careful not to harm the animals hurt implies inflicting a wound to the body or to the feelings. hurt by their callous remarks damage suggests injury that lowers value or impairs usefulness. a table damaged in shipping impair suggests a making less complete or efficient by deterioration or diminution. years of smoking had impaired his health mar applies to injury that spoils perfection (as of a surface) or causes disfigurement. the text is marred by many typos

Examples of harm in a Sentence

Noun They threatened him with bodily harm. The scandal has done irreparable harm to his reputation. She'll do anything to protect her children from harm. They have suffered serious physical harm. These new regulations could cause lasting harm to small businesses. Verb He would never intentionally harm his children. chemicals that could harm the environment The scandal has seriously harmed his reputation.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Yet economists are divided over whether negative interest rates have done more harm than good in Japan and Europe. Matt Egan, CNN, "Trump's bizarre wish list: Higher oil prices and negative interest rates," 15 May 2020 Subsequent studies have indicated the drug may do more harm than good. Houston Chronicle, "US immunologist warns of 'darkest winter' if virus rebounds," 14 May 2020 Subsequent studies have indicated the drug may do more harm than good. Time, "Whistleblower Warns of 'Darkest Winter in Modern History' Without Viable Coronavirus Vaccine Plan," 14 May 2020 Subsequent studies have indicated the drug may do more harm than good. Author: Ricardo Alonso-zaldivar, Anchorage Daily News, "Whistleblower: US could face ‘darkest winter’ if pandemic response doesn’t improve," 13 May 2020 Covering bills Taking out a personal loan to cover a mortgage or utility bill is a case when getting a loan can do more harm than good. Nerd Wallet, oregonlive, "Thinking about a personal loan amid the coronavirus crisis? Here’s what you should consider," 11 May 2020 Shutdown opponents plan to return to the Capitol grounds on Thursday to make their point that government restrictions to fight the coronavirus do more harm than good. Dustin Gardiner, SFChronicle.com, "Reopen California protests’ unlikely organizers: vaccination opponents," 7 May 2020 Rather than quieting down, the cytokine alarm continues to sound, enlisting an unnecessary army of fighters that can end up doing more harm than the germ itself. National Geographic, "A one-two punch to fight COVID-19," 7 May 2020 In the end, those who favor keeping the economy shut down indefinitely in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus may inadvertently do more harm in the long run—despite all noble intentions. Daryl Austin, Quartz, "Covid-19 is deadly, and so is keeping millions of people out of work," 5 May 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb After the House passed the measure along a mostly party-line vote, Ohio Right to Life cautioned senators of unintended consequences that could harm its initiatives. Anna Staver, Cincinnati.com, "Ohio Senate unanimously votes down House proposal to slash Dr. Amy Acton’s authority," 20 May 2020 The state is currently in the second phase of a four-step reopening process which allows some businesses to reopen and some counties to move ahead more quickly if they have been minimally harmed by the pandemic. N'dea Yancey-bragg, USA TODAY, "After California church defies state orders, 180 congregants are exposed to COVID-19," 18 May 2020 The wildlife habitats are needed because the inner harbor's environment has been harmed by more than a century of pollution. Tom Daykin, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Harbor and Kinnickinnic River walkway to balance industry, future development under new design standards," 11 May 2020 These organizations will use the funds to offer utility assistance to people who have been financially harmed by the pandemic. Megan Becka, cleveland, "Akron-Summit County coronavirus crisis fund to distribute $286,000 to local organizations," 8 May 2020 While essential for defending against pathogens, the immune system can be a blunt and potent weapon that sometimes harms healthy cells. National Geographic, "A one-two punch to fight COVID-19," 7 May 2020 But steer clear of invasive species, such as the Callery pear, that can harm natural Indiana ecosystems. London Gibson, Indianapolis Star, "Here are 50 ways to celebrate 50 years of Earth Day (from your home during the pandemic)," 17 Apr. 2020 At the same time, many entertainers, isolated in their homes, have been participating without payment in online efforts to raise money for charities seeking to help those whose health or finances have been harmed by the pandemic. Michael Paulson, New York Times, "Broadway Benefit for Pandemic Assistance Sunk by Labor Dispute," 11 Apr. 2020 The co-anchor of the NBC morning show underwent surgery to remove a polyp on her vocal cord that was harming her ability to speak. Jodi Guglielmi, PEOPLE.com, "Sheinelle Jones Returns to Today After Vocal Cord Surgery: I Learned the 'Power of Listening'," 6 Apr. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harm.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of harm

Noun

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Verb

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for harm

Noun and Verb

Middle English, from Old English hearm; akin to Old High German harm injury, Old Church Slavonic sramŭ shame

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Time Traveler for harm

Time Traveler

The first known use of harm was before the 12th century

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Statistics for harm

Last Updated

23 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Harm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harm. Accessed 1 Jun. 2020.

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More Definitions for harm

harm

noun
How to pronounce harm (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of harm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: physical or mental damage or injury : something that causes someone or something to be hurt, broken, made less valuable or successful, etc.

harm

verb

English Language Learners Definition of harm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause hurt, injury, or damage to (someone or something) : to cause harm to (someone or something)

harm

noun
\ ˈhärm How to pronounce harm (audio) \

Kids Definition of harm

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: physical or mental damage : injury The storm did little harm to the sheltered beach.

harm

verb
harmed; harming

Kids Definition of harm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause hurt, injury, or damage to Too much sun can harm your skin.

Choose the Right Synonym for harm

Noun

harm, injury, and damage mean an act that causes loss or pain. harm can be used of anything that causes suffering or loss. The frost did great harm to the crops. injury is likely to be used of something that has as a result the loss of health or success. She suffered an injury to the eyes. damage stresses the idea of loss (as of value or fitness). The fire caused much damage to the furniture.

harm

noun

Legal Definition of harm

: loss of or damage to a person's right, property, or physical or mental well-being : injury

Other Words from harm

harm transitive verb

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More from Merriam-Webster on harm

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for harm

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with harm

Spanish Central: Translation of harm

Nglish: Translation of harm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of harm for Arabic Speakers

Comments on harm

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