\ 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.


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

Other Words from harm


harmer noun

Synonyms for harm

Synonyms: Noun

Synonyms: Verb

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Choose the Right Synonym for harm


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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The latest election cycle has followed the familiar pattern, with many women reporting violence or threats of physical harm and misogyny being used to intimidate them out of the race. Larry Madowo And Bethlehem Feleke, CNN, 6 Aug. 2022 As Porizkova likes to remind us, there's no harm in going against the grain. Kayla Blanton, Peoplemag, 6 Aug. 2022 Even before the pandemic, at least 82% of facilities did not meet total nurse-staffing minimums recommended by the federal government to avoid care delays and harm to residents, according to a USA TODAY analysis of federal data from 2019. Jayme Fraser, USA TODAY, 5 Aug. 2022 Investment and development of STEM programs and growth in present practices to reduce harm to the environment would prove to be useful in advancing emission reduction endeavors. Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 Both felt that harm reduction efforts had saved their own lives, and helping others was a source of hope at a time that too often could feel despairing. Joanna Slater, Washington Post, 5 Aug. 2022 Some conservation groups have tried to block solar and wind farms in the Mojave Desert, citing potential harm to desert tortoises, golden eagles and Joshua trees, among other animals and plants. Sammy Rothstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 5 Aug. 2022 But while risk can never be eliminated, harm can be reduced. Jake Sheridan, Chicago Tribune, 4 Aug. 2022 No harm there; that, of course, is what movies are. Owen Gleiberman, Variety, 3 Aug. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Verb In addition, with an ascendant China, our dependance on foreign sources of energy will harm our ability to compete against their enormous economy. Anchorage Daily News, 5 Aug. 2022 Antitrust enforcement that views acquisitions by private-equity firms as inherently suspect and divorced from competitive concerns actually will harm consumers and competition. Makan Delrahim, WSJ, 31 July 2022 John Fetterman's radical, socialist agenda will harm American workers and make our streets less safe. Aubrie Spady, Fox News, 30 July 2022 But against otherwise rosy assessments, that last detail could sooner or later harm life back on terra firma. Leonard David, Scientific American, 29 July 2022 Even natural and organic pesticides can harm butterflies and other pollinators. Jessica Damiano, Chicago Tribune, 28 July 2022 Nicotine does not cause cancer, but there is still potential to harm health, especially in the mouth, particularly for gum disease. Dr. Keith Roach, oregonlive, 25 July 2022 Robocalls and text message scams harm everyone, but are especially hard on the aging population. Ebony Williams, ajc, 22 July 2022 The characters harm themselves more than our villain, played by Aleks, ever does. Marta Balaga, Variety, 21 July 2022 See More

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.

First Known Use of harm


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


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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Dictionary Entries Near harm



harm's way

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Statistics for harm

Last Updated

10 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Harm.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harm. Accessed 13 Aug. 2022.

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More Definitions for harm


\ 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.


harmed; harming

Kids Definition of harm (Entry 2 of 2)

: to cause hurt, injury, or damage to insects that harm trees

Choose the Right Synonym for harm


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.



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

More from Merriam-Webster on harm

Nglish: Translation of harm for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of harm for Arabic Speakers


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