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See more synonyms for harrow on Thesaurus.com
  1. an agricultural implement with spikelike teeth or upright disks, drawn chiefly over plowed land to level it, break up clods, root up weeds, etc.
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verb (used with object)
  1. to draw a harrow over (land).
  2. to disturb keenly or painfully; distress the mind, feelings, etc., of.
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verb (used without object)
  1. to become broken up by harrowing, as soil.
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Origin of harrow1

1250–1300; Middle English harwe; akin to Old Norse herfi harrow, Dutch hark rake, Greek krṓpion sickle
Related formshar·row·er, noun


verb (used with object) Archaic.
  1. to ravish; violate; despoil.
  2. harry(def 2).
  3. (of Christ) to descend into (hell) to free the righteous held captive.
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Origin of harrow2

before 1000; Middle English harwen, herwen, Old English hergian to harry
Related formshar·row·ment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for harrowed

Historical Examples

  • The seed is generally broadcasted for a fiber crop and then harrowed in.

    Agriculture for Beginners

    Charles William Burkett

  • Bone-dust, except when used in the drill, should always be harrowed in.


    Solon Robinson

  • Your hearts have been ploughed and harrowed and are now frozen up.

  • And a sense of injustice, of anger, of bewilderment, harrowed his very soul.

    The Freelands

    John Galsworthy

  • After the ploughing, the seed is sown broadcast, and the field is then harrowed.

British Dictionary definitions for harrowed


  1. any of various implements used to level the ground, stir the soil, break up clods, destroy weeds, etc, in soil
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  1. (tr) to draw a harrow over (land)
  2. (intr) (of soil) to become broken up through harrowing
  3. (tr) to distress; vex
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Derived Formsharrower, nounharrowing, adjective, noun

Word Origin

C13: of Scandinavian origin; compare Danish harv, Swedish harf; related to Middle Dutch harke rake


verb (tr) archaic
  1. to plunder or ravish
  2. (of Christ) to descend into (hell) to rescue righteous souls
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Derived Formsharrowment, noun

Word Origin

C13: variant of Old English hergian to harry


  1. a borough of NW Greater London; site of an English boys' public school founded in 1571 at Harrow-on-the-Hill, a part of this borough. Pop: 210 700 (2003 est). Area: 51 sq km (20 sq miles)
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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 harrowed



agricultural implement, heavy wooden rake, c.1300, haru, from Old English *hearwa, apparently related to Old Norse harfr "harrow," and perhaps connected with Old English hærfest "harvest" (see harvest). Or possibly from hergian (see harry).

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"to drag a harrow over," especially in harrowing of Hell in Christian theology, early 14c., from hergian (see harry). In the figurative sense of "to wound the feelings, distress greatly" it is first attested c.1600 in Shakespeare. Related: Harrowed; harrowing.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper