Definition of harm in English:

harm

noun

  • 1[mass noun] Physical injury, especially that which is deliberately inflicted:

    ‘I didn't mean to cause him any harm’
    • ‘Do you think she'd inflict bodily harm on him?’
    • ‘Like many of those who inflict harm on themselves - whether it's cutting, burning, starving or taking overdoses - her problems began in childhood.’
    • ‘He said: ‘The public were kept safe, and we prevented this unhappy young man from inflicting serious harm to himself.’’
    • ‘They did not have enough control to physically inflict harm on you, such as attacking with a weapon.’
    • ‘Police officers then arrived and arrested the offender, 19, on suspicion of causing actual body harm.’
    • ‘They knew that there was a very strong chance that the police would come in and remove them and, in that process, inflict physical injury or serious harm to a person.’
    • ‘It seems inconceivable that an operation that inflicts severe harm on women would continue to be practised wholesale, despite medical evidence of its potentially detrimental effects.’
    • ‘An assault is committed where a person inflicts bodily harm on another.’
    • ‘While he was not a violent person by nature, he knew that there was within him the potential to do harm to himself or to others.’
    • ‘I just wish it wasn't at the hands of the patrols and mercenaries who were determined that I not do anyone any physical harm.’
    • ‘In particular as you will see, abuse and torture are widespread despite the prohibition by the constitution of infliction of physical harm upon those arrested or detained.’
    • ‘Emphasize the importance of telling you and an adult at school whenever another kid or group of kids causes your child or anyone else physical harm.’
    • ‘He said that in some attempted murder cases the intended victim suffers no physical harm but here the victim had suffered appalling injuries.’
    • ‘Some contend that they don't meet the definition because they aren't directed at inflicting physical harm to people.’
    • ‘In the first place, stiffer sentences need to be imposed on any person who stabs or inflicts bodily harm on another person.’
    • ‘The circumstances, the spokesman said, were that they had shown their ability to inflict harm and murder people.’
    • ‘However, what held her full attention now was the fact she was being surrounded by a group of men carrying various tools that could inflict harm on a person.’
    • ‘There are still people out there who would like to inflict harm on our people.’
    • ‘What explanation could there be for his noting on a piece of paper that he might want to inflict some harm upon himself, some injury upon himself?’
    • ‘If pain is inflicted without lasting physical harm, does that make it better or worse?’
    injury, hurt, pain, suffering, distress, anguish, trauma, torment, grief
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Material damage:
      ‘it's unlikely to do much harm to the engine’
      • ‘As well as property in Parkwood Rise, Ryan was banned from trying to enter any building on land within Bradford district with the intent to cause harm or damage.’
      • ‘CPC also claims for damages arising from harm caused to the roof of its plant by JDL in the course of its installation of the equipment.’
      • ‘Participants were presented with four hypothetical scenarios in which a peer caused them harm, such as damage to their property.’
      • ‘It has been published in on-line media such as Planet Ark that are accessed by the target consumers for our cheese, and thus may do us material harm.’
      • ‘I make clear in para 562.55 that there is no objection in principle to the employment proposals and that the Link Road would ensure that no material harm was caused to the local highway network.’
      • ‘No deaths or permanent harm resulted, but the nurses conclude that nearly 40% of the cases could have been fatal.’
      • ‘Luckily for us this incident had caused no harm or any damage to the equipment.’
      • ‘Mrs Thelwell secured retrospective planning permission to put up a new staircase and partition wall at Sundial House as councillors accepted the work had not resulted in any material harm.’
      • ‘If their actions or protests involve harm or damage to personnel or equipment, then that action is much more serious than a protest.’
      • ‘He added: ‘We investigate all reports of pollution and harm to the environment will result in prosecution.’’
      • ‘With the various safeguards that could be achieved by way of conditions, I am satisfied that it would not result in any material harm to the living conditions of nearby residents.’
      • ‘They tend to lack good judgment but avoid intentional harm; significant property damage is common.’
      • ‘He said the issue was whether the extra-high roof had caused material harm and the unanimous view of planning officers had been that it did not.’
      • ‘These are just a few among many examples of how the evidence for harm from current air pollution levels is far weaker than ALA claims.’
      • ‘They are not usually considered to be an important part of the vehicle. However these bumpers somehow decrease harm and damage done to your car during any accidents.’
    2. 1.2 Actual or potential ill effects or danger:
      ‘there's no harm in asking her’
      • ‘There's a huge amount of shame associated with causing harm to patients with an error, and it's not readily confessed.’
      • ‘In reversing his position, Ashcroft told Mueller that the value of disclosing the information outweighs the potential harm to national security.’
      • ‘Another misconception is that race-conscious admission policies somehow shame or harm underrepresented students of color.’
      • ‘Because children are still developing, they are at a greater risk for potential harm from pesticide exposure, say experts.’
      • ‘Results from the women's health initiative trial have made clear that we need to be cautious about the long term effects as sometimes harms might surprisingly outweigh benefits.’
      • ‘Earplugs and other anti-radiation products may protect you from potential harm.’
      • ‘Over and above the cost and discomfort of the actual test, the most important potential harm is the risk of a false-positive result.’
      • ‘We accept that freedom of expression has the potential to cause harm to others.’
      • ‘The fact is that our legal system gives victims a tiny fraction of the actual harm caused to them by the negligence of others.’
      • ‘What possible harm could this therapeutic effect have?’
      • ‘Once BW agents have fallen to the ground, these are not likely to cause harm in humans, unless through secondary ingestion of contaminated materials.’
      • ‘Patients who are well informed about prognosis and treatment options, including potential harms and side effects, are more likely to adhere to treatments and have better health outcomes.’
      • ‘Prof Barker said the team hoped to get to the truth of how much actual harm was caused by mobile phone use.’
      • ‘Contrary to popular belief, taking HRT in non-tablet form does not protect one against either side effects or potential harm.’
      • ‘One should not risk potential harm to the client by abandoning the role of therapist for the potentially incongruent role of advocate.’
      • ‘Two reports tonight highlight the Internet's potential for harm.’
      • ‘However, in the case of the U.S.-China textile trade, the U.S. imposed the measures before actual harm had taken place.’
      • ‘I would appreciate it if you could ask your readers to be aware of such scams as they have the potential for massive harm.’
      • ‘We think it is important that drinkers are aware of larger measures and the potential harm of drinking too much.’
      • ‘Intravenous drug errors are a potential source of serious harm for patients and risk reduction strategies should be developed accordingly.’
      evil, badness, wrong, mischief, wrongdoing, immorality, ill, wickedness, vice, iniquity, sin, sinfulness, nefariousness
      View synonyms

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Physically injure:

    ‘the villains didn't harm him’
    • ‘There is no use fighting intolerance by physically harming someone.’
    • ‘An absolute right to freedom of expression neither physically harms anybody nor deprives them of their property.’
    • ‘They may believe that they never physically harm anyone but in fact may cause serious psychological damage or pain.’
    • ‘My grief worsened to the point where I stopped eating and began physically harming myself.’
    • ‘You do not have the right to physically harm other people.’
    • ‘Making suspects out of kids fails to decrease drug use and harms young people physically and emotionally.’
    • ‘He had never been so tempted to physically harm someone out of anger alone.’
    • ‘Acceptable social behavior does not include physically harming another person or placing another child in the role of ‘victim.’’
    • ‘Despite all these, if I ever hear again about you physically harming others, don't be surprised if the police come and arrest you for assault.’
    • ‘For example, if a commercial statement misleads us about a drug's safety or an automobile's safety, we stand to be harmed physically.’
    • ‘This taxi driver became violent and physically harmed me.’
    • ‘To date, Korean authorities have failed to bring to justice any of the individuals who have physically harmed or threatened these soldiers.’
    • ‘Hunter had no business whatsoever in physically harming Lucas for protecting his younger sister.’
    • ‘At no time have I ever made threatening gestures or spoken words which would imply that I would physically harm anyone.’
    • ‘The robbers, both believed to be in their 20s, demanded cash and made off with £300 leaving the victim's shaken but not physically harmed.’
    • ‘Under my amendment, parents will still be able to smack their children if they don't harm them physically or mentally.’
    • ‘Although the 62-year-old was not physically harmed, he was badly shaken by the time the police came to his rescue.’
    • ‘Disillusioned, Grace physically harms herself to override the emotional pain from inside.’
    • ‘There has been particular concern that she would physically harm the child if allowed access.’
    • ‘The teen was threatened, but not physically harmed although the attack left her traumatized, Thiessen said.’
    injure, hurt, wound, maltreat, mistreat, misuse, ill-treat, ill-use, abuse, molest, inflict pain on, inflict suffering on, handle roughly, treat roughly, do violence to, lay a finger on
    damage, spoil, mar, destroy, do mischief to, impair, deface, defile, blemish, tarnish, taint
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1 Damage the health of:
      ‘smoking when pregnant can harm your baby’
      • ‘Alcohol consumption becomes a sin when it corrupts righteous thought or behavior, harms health, or violates any civil law.’
      • ‘One in five patients attending the Accident and Emergency department at Swindon's Great Western Hospital are drinking alcohol at a level that could be harming their health.’
      • ‘The woman ended up being seen in a hospital accident and emergency department with a tooth infection which, if untreated, could have harmed her own health and that of her unborn child.’
      • ‘However, she was unaware that she was misusing the antibiotic and that she could also be harming her health.’
      • ‘We want to prevent waste from damaging the environment and from harming human health.’
      • ‘Yet dozens of workers are absolutely sure that the building is harming their health, if not outright killing them.’
      • ‘Some workers who claim that their health has been harmed by tobacco smoke at work, are already suing employers for damages of up to 250,000.’
      • ‘This all stems from the radio this week as it was announced that parents who put their children on a strict vegan diet are harming their health.’
      • ‘Computers treated with certain flame retardants may be harming the health of those who use them.’
      • ‘Late last month, fake milk powder caused the deaths of at least 12 babies in East China's Anhui Province and harmed the health of hundreds more.’
      • ‘Environmentalists claim the waves were harming the health of local residents.’
      • ‘The diet which builds up their titanic physiques also harms their health in the long term.’
      • ‘‘I know I am harming my health, but there are so many people smoking around me, so the harm must be slight,’ said the boy while blowing out smoke.’
      • ‘Even with respect to mercury contamination, which was harming human health, the federal government has not honoured its treaty and constitutional obligations.’
      • ‘Researchers are discovering that chronic sleep deprivation harms health, promoting weight gain and diabetes and reducing immunity.’
      • ‘The children's health was also harmed by cramped working conditions and the loud music, which was played with the intention of keeping them entertained.’
      • ‘In short, why do those whose health has been harmed by pollution so rarely challenge the industries that they believe are responsible for it?’
      • ‘Antibiotics might bring benefit to individuals with mild infections while harming public health by increasing microbial resistance.’
      • ‘I underwent extensive testing and luckily, I was healthy, but this scare was enough for me to realize that no weight-loss drug is worth harming my health.’
      • ‘The group announced a tie-up with law firm Thompsons as part of a campaign to urge workers who believed their health had been harmed by inhaling smoke to seek compensation.’
    2. 1.2 Have an adverse effect on:
      ‘this could harm his World Cup prospects’
      • ‘Any residues that rinse out in the water would easily harm vulnerable seedlings and ruin your crop.’
      • ‘Other reasons for not supporting a ban were that it would infringe people's rights and could harm business prospects.’
      • ‘Ironically, farmers have said that the pesticides have had no effect in preventing the deadly insects from harming the crop.’
      • ‘Taking five or eight or ten years off to get the kids started off right before they go to school is going to mean irreparably harming our prospects for advancement.’
      • ‘In today's business climate - at least in the UK - displaying too much naked ambition can harm your career prospects, he says.’
      • ‘But one of the reasons we protect our children, for example, is that we believe we would be devastated if they were harmed or killed.’
      • ‘Activists feared attacks would only harm a population already devastated by two decades of war and famine.’
      • ‘Cunningham is popular with the party faithful, but party modernisers view her as too radical and fear that some of her views could be harming their electoral prospects.’
      • ‘As long as experiments, research, and the use of its findings is properly used, we need have no fear that people will be harmed, either directly or by deleterious effects on society.’
      • ‘The clinician's task is to not only avoid harming the child, but to also effect the best or ultimate good for the patient, all things considered.’
      • ‘Reintroducing college fees could harm the prospects of improved access to third level education, the head of Irish universities has warned.’
      • ‘The pressure of too much to learn in too many subjects carries with it the potential stigma of failure that can harm psychological welfare and undermine intellectual development.’
      • ‘The current barrage of solar storms pummeling Earth hasn't harmed power grids on our planet or damaged satellites, but it's generated a lot of buzz.’
      • ‘The return to a zero interest rate policy came after a concerted campaign by the government, which claimed its abandonment last August was harming the prospects for economic recovery.’
      • ‘Britain cannot continue indefinitely to spend more than she is earning without higher taxes or higher interest rates - either of which will harm our economic prospects.’
      • ‘In a belated move, the education authorities decided to crack down on teaching practices that are harming the neutrality of education.’
      • ‘Do we feed the hungry by developing higher-yielding crops, even if it might harm the Earth?’
      • ‘Some studies have concluded that mothers could be harming the educational prospects of their offspring by returning to work too early.’
      • ‘Bilingual education may actually be harming the prospects of many students who don't speak English.’
      • ‘Too many new entrepreneurs harm their own prospects by underpricing their goods and services.’
      injure, hurt, wound, maltreat, mistreat, misuse, ill-treat, ill-use, abuse, molest, inflict pain on, inflict suffering on, handle roughly, treat roughly, do violence to, lay a finger on
      damage, spoil, mar, destroy, do mischief to, impair, deface, defile, blemish, tarnish, taint
      View synonyms

Origin

Old English hearm (noun), hearmian (verb), of Germanic origin; related to German Harm and Old Norse harmr grief, sorrow.

Pronunciation:

harm

/hɑːm/