• synonyms


See more synonyms for harm on Thesaurus.com
  1. physical injury or mental damage; hurt: to do him bodily harm.
  2. moral injury; evil; wrong.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to do or cause harm to; injure; damage; hurt: to harm one's reputation.
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Origin of harm

before 900; Middle English; Old English hearm; cognate with German Harm, Old Norse harmr
Related formsharm·er, nounself-harm·ing, adjectiveun·harmed, adjectiveun·harm·ing, adjective


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Synonym study

1, 2. See damage.


1. benefit. 3. help.


noun Military.
  1. a U.S. air-to-surface missile designed to detect and destroy radar sites by homing on their emissions.
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Origin of HARM

H(igh-speed) A(nti) R(adiation) M(issile)
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

loss, mischief, sabotage, violence, damage, wrong, abuse, vandalism, disservice, misuse, impairment, shock, wreck, tarnish, ruin, inconvenience, shatter, cripple, hurt, impair

Examples from the Web for harm

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • We missed our morning mass, it will do us no harm to hear Nones in the Minster.

    The Armourer's Prentices

    Charlotte M. Yonge

  • You shall be reckless as you like—but without your stored energy surplus to harm you.

    The Spenders

    Harry Leon Wilson

  • "Shure a little drink will do me no harm," said Mrs. Malone.

    Brave and Bold

    Horatio Alger

  • What harm can that swearing coachman do, I should like to know, in the street yonder?


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

  • I never in my life saw any harm done by a villain; I wish I could.


    Thomas Wentworth Higginson

British Dictionary definitions for harm


  1. physical or mental injury or damage
  2. moral evil or wrongdoing
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  1. (tr) to injure physically, morally, or mentally
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Derived Formsharmer, noun

Word Origin

Old English hearm; related to Old Norse harmr grief, Old High German harm injury, Old Slavonic sramǔ disgrace
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

Word Origin and History for harm


Old English hearm "hurt, evil, grief, pain, insult," from Proto-Germanic *harmaz (cf. Old Saxon harm, Old Norse harmr, Old Frisian herm "insult; pain," Old High German harm, German Harm "grief, sorrow, harm"), from PIE *kormo- "pain."

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Old English hearmian "to hurt" (see harm (n.)). It has ousted Old English skeþþan "scathe" in all but a few senses. Related: Harmed; harming.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with harm


see do one wrong (harm); out of harm's way.

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The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.