hurt·​ful | \ ˈhərt-fəl How to pronounce hurtful (audio) \

Definition of hurtful

: causing injury, detriment, or suffering : damaging

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Other Words from hurtful

hurtfully \ ˈhərt-​fə-​lē How to pronounce hurtfully (audio) \ adverb
hurtfulness noun

Examples of hurtful in a Sentence

She can't forgive him for the hurtful things he said. Their comments were really hurtful to me.
Recent Examples on the Web The person who did the hurtful thing is often really ready for forgiveness, but the process for the hurt partner is almost always much, much, much longer. Rachel Feltman, Popular Science, "How to forgive someone who has hurt you—and why you should," 2 Jan. 2020 And the big thing for her relationship with Yumiko is that there has been a lie at the middle of it all, and that’s the thing that, for Yumiko, is so hurtful. Dalton Ross,, "The Walking Dead boss on the big Negan and Lucille reunion," 4 Nov. 2019 However, the kind of vitriol that has come forth since announcing the change in the name of the parade has been truly disappointing and hurtful. Fox News, "West Virginia mayor restores city's 'Christmas Parade' after protests over name change," 11 Oct. 2019 The murals’ depiction of African Americans as slaves and Native Americans as the victims of genocide have been deemed hurtful for some of the students who walk by the murals every day. Willie Brown,, "Trump appears to enjoy pushing race button, regardless of topic," 10 Aug. 2019 When Pinterest discovered this, the company did more than just try to eliminate hurtful content. Wired, "Vape Detectors in Schools, Mental Health on Pinterest, and More News," 14 Nov. 2019 At least the fatherly bid, however hurtful, could be lucrative. The Economist, "Octogenarians are shaking up Italian business," 14 Nov. 2019 The definition of the word itself has broadened to include behaviors that may not be repeated or even intended to be hurtful. Daniel A Cinotti, The Conversation, "Many states now require anti-bullying training that includes a focus on LGBTQ students - but risks remain," 6 Nov. 2019 Most cheered on her post, but plenty of trolls decided to leave hurtful remarks, too. Christina Oehler,, "Influencer Who Was Body-Shamed After Sexy Photo Shoot Responds With Empowering Advice," 27 Sep. 2019

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

1526, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for hurtful

Time Traveler

The first known use of hurtful was in 1526

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Statistics for hurtful

Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Hurtful.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 25 January 2020.

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More Definitions for hurtful


How to pronounce hurtful (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of hurtful

: causing injury or emotional pain especially : cruel or unkind


hurt·​ful | \ ˈhərt-fəl How to pronounce hurtful (audio) \

Kids Definition of hurtful

: causing injury or suffering hurtful gossip

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More from Merriam-Webster on hurtful

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for hurtful

Spanish Central: Translation of hurtful

Nglish: Translation of hurtful for Spanish Speakers

Comments on hurtful

What made you want to look up hurtful? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


dull or mediocre

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