har·row·ing | \ˈher-ə-wiŋ, 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

The soccer team's ordeal began June 23 when rising water trapped them inside a cave, and the last of the dozen boys and one coach were rescued on Tuesday after a harrowing 18-days that sparked global media interest. Abid Rahman, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Crazy Rich Asians' Director Eyes Thai Cave Rescue Movie," 12 July 2018 Alaska State Troopers aboard a rescue helicopter landed to pick up Nanook and Milling, who recounted her harrowing tale to troopers in a notebook, reported KTVA. Don Sweeney, sacbee, "A deaf hiker fell 700 feet down an Alaska mountain. Then a husky named Nanook found her," 1 July 2018 The movie, which Woodley also produced, tells a harrowing tale of survival at sea. Rebecca Farley, refinery29.com, "Shailene Woodley's Intense Preparation For Adrift Will Shock You," 29 June 2018 This relentlessly harrowing tale about a dystopian future version of America returns after scooping up eight Emmys, including best drama, in its first season. Andrew R. Chow, New York Times, "What’s on TV Wednesday: ‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ and ‘Archer’," 25 Apr. 2018 Tom and Anne interview Bloomberg News reporter Drew Armstrong about his harrowing personal tale of identity theft that left his credit in tatters. Bloomberg.com, "The Bloomberg Baystate Business Hour: Legacy + Credit," 19 Sep. 2017 There’s no denying Kvitova’s ability to physically and mentally recover so quickly from such a harrowing experience is impressive. Sandra Harwitt, USA TODAY, "Petra Kvitova shares harrowing bond with Monica Seles," 30 June 2018 Shoppers in Leeds experienced a few harrowing moments Saturday night when a man displayed a gun after being confronted by patrons for acting peculiar. Carol Robinson, AL.com, "'He's got a gun': Man shows weapon at The Shops of Grand River, no shots fired," 28 Apr. 2018 Passengers on a Southwest flight describe the harrowing moments after an engine exploded, forcing the pilot to make an emergency landing. Editors, USA TODAY, "When you fly, the difference between life and death is a matter of inches," 18 Apr. 2018

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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Statistics for harrowing

Last Updated

16 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for harrowing

The first known use of harrowing was in 1799

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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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Comments on harrowing

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a state of commotion or excitement

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