harm

noun
\ ˈhärm \

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

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

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.

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

Though there hasn't been any proven harm to the child, an infection or severe swelling can occur, so the risk isn't worth the reward. Jenna Rosenstein, Harper's BAZAAR, "Kylie Jenner Admits She "Got Rid Of" All Her Lip Filler," 9 July 2018 Fox News had agreed to hold the story of the transit until both U.S. warships were out of harms way. Lucas Tomlinson, Fox News, "Two US warships sail through Taiwan Strait amid China trade war: officials," 7 July 2018 People shared his story as an example of the harm caused by a policy instituted by the Trump administration at the U.S.-Mexico border that called for separating parents from their children. Rachel Leingang, azcentral, "Meet the man who says he made Trump overturn family separation policy," 21 June 2018 Candida albicans is a ubiquitous fungus that typically causes serious harm only to people with a weakened immune system, and yet some otherwise healthy individuals suffer repeated bouts of infection. Claudia Wallis, Scientific American, "Extreme Flu? Weird Encephalitis? It May Be Your Genes," 13 July 2018 Case and Deaton found that they are linked to frayed social and emotional support, which can cause serious and, in some cases irreversible, harm to people’s health. Clay Marsh, STAT, "Facing deaths of despair from the depths of despair in West Virginia," 12 July 2018 Going along with conservative justices for no good reason causes significant harms to liberal jurisprudence. David Fontana, Vox, "Justice Sotomayor is poised to lead the minority wing of the Supreme Court," 6 July 2018 Aside from bodily harm, fireworks can also result in financial hardship. Stephanie Petit, PEOPLE.com, "How to Stay Safe While Setting Off Fireworks This July 4th," 4 July 2018 Other questions raised by Supreme Court justices included whether a graduate student acting in the role of classroom instructor should be shielded from potential harm by a professor, or treated as an instructor. Karen Herzog, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Wisconsin Supreme Court ruling on John McAdams case against Marquette expected Friday," 3 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

In 2012 roughly 20% of Swedish adolescents reported at least five instances of self-harming behavior, and the teen suicide rate hit a 25-year high in 2013. Erica Komisar, WSJ, "The Human Cost of Sweden’s Welfare State," 11 July 2018 The lawsuit alleges other immigrant youths held at Shenandoah have also engaged in cutting and other self-harming behaviors, including ingesting shampoo and attempting to choke themselves. USA TODAY, "Young immigrants detained in Virginia center allege abuse," 21 June 2018 The lawsuit alleges other immigrant youths held at Shenandoah have also engaged in cutting and other self-harming behaviors, including ingesting shampoo and attempting to choke themselves. CBS News, "Young immigrants detained in Virginia allege they were beaten while cuffed, left nude in cells," 21 June 2018 The lawsuit alleges other immigrant youths held at Shenandoah have also engaged in cutting and other self-harming behaviors, including ingesting shampoo and attempting to choke themselves. Michael Biesecker, chicagotribune.com, "Beatings, bags over their heads, racial slurs: Young migrants detained in Virginia allege abuse in lawsuit," 21 June 2018 The lawsuit alleges other immigrant youths held at Shenandoah have also engaged in cutting and other self-harming behaviors, including ingesting shampoo and attempting to choke themselves. Michael Biesecker, Time, "Young Immigrants Held in a Virginia Detention Center Say They Were Abused By Guards," 21 June 2018 Privacy - Terms Though the operation will not be visible from Powell Gardens, supporters of the botanical attraction worry about possible odor, water quality and plant-harming parasites drifting from the livestock facility. Rick Montgomery, kansascity, "Missouri approves permit to expand cattle feedlot by Powell Gardens; appeal expected," 15 June 2018 This helpless feeling can have lasting effects, including depression, anxiety, eating disorders and self-harming behaviors like cutting. Charlotte Hilton Andersen, Seventeen, "Girls Are Sexually Harassed In School All The Time and No One Is Doing Anything About It," 30 May 2018 Autism spectrum disorder is a developmental condition that can affect a child's ability to interact and communicate with others and, in severe cases, show signs of aggression, repetitive and self-harming behavior. Maria Clark, NOLA.com, "Autism prevalence grows to 1 in 59 U.S. children," 1 May 2018

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

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

Verb

see harm entry 1

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Learn More about harm

Dictionary Entries near harm

harlot

harlotry

harls

harm

harm's way

harman

harmattan

Phrases Related to harm

do more harm than good

no harm done

Statistics for harm

Last Updated

13 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for harm

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

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More Definitions for harm

harm

noun

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 \

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.

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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Comments on harm

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