har·​row·​ing | \ ˈher-ə-wiŋ How to pronounce harrowing (audio) , ˈha-rə- \

Definition of harrowing

: acutely distressing or painful a harrowing experience Mr. Wu's work in a coal mine was particularly harrowing.— Charles Horner

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Other Words from harrowing

harrowingly adverb

Examples of harrowing in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Set in the early 19th century, Michael Crummey’s fifth novel is a brilliant, harrowing, and supremely moving tale of Evered and Ada, orphaned at ages 11 and 9 on an isolated cove in Newfoundland. Katherine A. Powers, Washington Post, "Listen up! Our critic picks three new audiobooks for your playlist.," 21 Jan. 2020 The first season ended with a harrowing and unsettling encounter for agent Holden Ford (Groff). Mark Dawidziak, cleveland, "‘Watchmen’ and ‘Black Mirror’ among Top 10 TV shows for 2019," 29 Dec. 2019 Camarón was Romany and his art was flamenco, the elaborate and harrowing music chiefly associated with the Andalusian Romanies of southern Spain. James Parker, The Atlantic, "How Flamenco Went Pop," 21 Dec. 2019 Poughkeepsie Journal A missing 16-year-old girl was found after a harrowing video appeared to show her being taken from a Bronx street Monday night, but there are now questions about her apparent abduction after media reports it was staged. Katelyn Cordero, USA TODAY, "16-year-old was taken off NYC street in harrowing video. Reports say kidnapping was staged," 19 Dec. 2019 Storms can be both harrowing and beautiful, and photographer Eric Meola opts to focus on the latter. Jennifer Nalewicki, Smithsonian, "The Ten Best Books About Travel of 2019," 21 Nov. 2019 After one of her most affecting passages, Allen walked calmly back to her place in a circle, preparing to hear out Lawson, who gives the final and most harrowing disclosure of the piece, a tale of soured love, horror, and immitigable loss. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "An Ecstatic Revival of Ntozake Shange’s “for colored girls”," 28 Oct. 2019 The influence of the powerful Lifetime docu-series Surviving R. Kelly also swayed public opinion of the case, allowing survivors of Kelly's alleged abuse to come forward with their harrowing stories. Ineye Komonibo, refinery29.com, "R. Kelly’s Girlfriends Got In A Fight On Instagram Live & Now The Police Are Involved," 9 Jan. 2020 In one of the most harrowing twists of You season one, Joe Goldberg's obsession with Guinevere Beck won't allow anything or anyone get in his way. Katherine J Igoe, Marie Claire, "Is Guinevere Beck in ‘You’ Season 2?," 26 Dec. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'harrowing.' 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 harrowing

1799, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for harrowing

Time Traveler

The first known use of harrowing was in 1799

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Statistics for harrowing

Last Updated

6 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Harrowing.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harrowing. Accessed 17 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for harrowing


har·​row·​ing | \ ˈher-ə-wiŋ \

Kids Definition of harrowing

: very distressing or painful a harrowing experience

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