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[hurt-fuh l] /ˈhɜrt fəl/
causing hurt or injury; injurious; harmful.
Origin of hurtful
First recorded in 1520-30; hurt + -ful
Related forms
hurtfully, adverb
hurtfulness, noun
unhurtful, adjective
unhurtfully, adverb
destructive, pernicious; noxious. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for hurtful
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • It can be hurtful to none, said Luther, to acknowledge and confess their sins.

  • Even their prayers are hurtful to him, until he have made his own.

    Essays, First Series Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • But the lover is not only hurtful to his love; he is also an extremely disagreeable companion.

    Phaedrus Plato
  • Or may we suppose that hunger will remain while men and animals remain, but not so as to be hurtful?

    Lysis Plato
  • Are they not profitable when they are rightly used, and hurtful when they are not rightly used?

    Meno Plato
British Dictionary definitions for hurtful


causing distress or injury: to say hurtful things
Derived Forms
hurtfully, adverb
hurtfulness, noun
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for hurtful

"harmful," mid-15c., from hurt (n.) + -ful. Related: Hurtfully; hurtfulness.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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