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

Right around the time Musk tweeted his first pledge to combat traffic with tunnels, several SpaceX employees were injured in two separate crashes—one of which was a harrowing high-speed hit-and-run. Alissa Walker, Curbed, "We don’t need more dedicated places where cars can go fast," 20 Dec. 2018 So what was the emotional experience of making this, of putting yourself in those situations that are more harrowing than just sitting at home? Todd Vanderwerff, Vox, "Wild Thing, one of 2018’s most delightful new podcasts, dares to take Bigfoot seriously," 12 Dec. 2018 Though conditions were harrowing, most were able to flee to safety. Costas Synolakis, WSJ, "Lessons From the Paradise Fire," 18 Nov. 2018 Ultimately, surviving abuse and living with the aftereffects can be harrowing. Elly Belle, Teen Vogue, "What You Should Know About Dating a Domestic Abuse Survivor," 26 Oct. 2018 Another time, a groom asked us to time a sky writer in the middle of a ceremony which was so harrowing because the timing had to be incredibly precise with the exact timing of the speeches and the wind. Olivia Martin, Town & Country, "Celebrity Event Planner Yifat Oren's Best Tips for Planning a One-of-a-Kind Wedding," 9 Oct. 2018 Escape usually means a harrowing journey across China and into Southeast Asia, where they are received by South Korean officials. Jonathan Cheng, WSJ, "He Helped North Koreans Reach Freedom. Now He Wants South Korea’s Protection.," 18 Dec. 2018 Host Zack Beauchamp goes to Hungary and brings back the story of Ibrar Hussein Mirzai, a young migrant who made the harrowing journey to Hungary from Pakistan. Byrd Pinkerton, Vox, "13 of Vox’s best podcast episodes of 2018," 6 Dec. 2018 Thankfully, Madonna reached her happy place, and her harrowing journey from darkness to light is something many divorced people can relate to. Christopher Rosa, Glamour, "Madonna Released the Ultimate Divorce Album 6 Years Ago—You Just Didn't Listen," 30 Nov. 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

9 Jan 2019

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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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