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Synonym Chooser

How is the word harm distinct from other similar verbs?

Some common synonyms of harm are damage, hurt, impair, injure, and mar. While all these words mean "to affect injuriously," harm often stresses the inflicting of pain, suffering, or loss.

careful not to harm the animals

When might damage be a better fit than harm?

While the synonyms damage and harm are close in meaning, damage suggests injury that lowers value or impairs usefulness.

a table damaged in shipping

When is it sensible to use hurt instead of harm?

The words hurt and harm are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, hurt implies inflicting a wound to the body or to the feelings.

hurt by their callous remarks

When would impair be a good substitute for harm?

The meanings of impair and harm largely overlap; however, impair suggests a making less complete or efficient by deterioration or diminution.

years of smoking had impaired his health

In what contexts can injure take the place of harm?

The words injure and harm can be used in similar contexts, but injure implies the inflicting of anything detrimental to one's looks, comfort, health, or success.

badly injured in an accident

When can mar be used instead of harm?

While in some cases nearly identical to harm, mar applies to injury that spoils perfection (as of a surface) or causes disfigurement.

the text is marred by many typos

Thesaurus Entries Near harm

Cite this Entry

“Harm.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/harm. Accessed 18 Apr. 2024.

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