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’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The circumstances, the spokesman said, were that they had shown their ability to inflict harm and murder 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?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘If pain is inflicted without lasting physical harm, does that make it better or worse?’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Like many of those who inflict harm on themselves - whether it's cutting, burning, starving or taking overdoses - her problems began in childhood.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Do you think she'd inflict bodily harm on him?’
    • ‘An assault is committed where a person inflicts bodily harm on another.’
    • ‘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: ‘The public were kept safe, and we prevented this unhappy young man from inflicting serious harm to himself.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘There are still people out there who would like to inflict harm on our people.’
    • ‘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.’
    injury, hurt, pain, suffering, distress, anguish, trauma, torment, grief
    View synonyms
    1. 1.1Material damage.
      ‘it's unlikely to do much harm to the engine’
      • ‘They tend to lack good judgment but avoid intentional harm; significant property damage is common.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘No deaths or permanent harm resulted, but the nurses conclude that nearly 40% of the cases could have been fatal.’
      • ‘He added: ‘We investigate all reports of pollution and harm to the environment will result in prosecution.’’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Luckily for us this incident had caused no harm or any damage to the equipment.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Participants were presented with four hypothetical scenarios in which a peer caused them harm, such as damage to their property.’
      • ‘If their actions or protests involve harm or damage to personnel or equipment, then that action is much more serious than a protest.’
    2. 1.2Actual or potential ill effects or danger.
      ‘there's no harm in asking her’
      • ‘What possible harm could this therapeutic effect have?’
      • ‘Two reports tonight highlight the Internet's potential for harm.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Over and above the cost and discomfort of the actual test, the most important potential harm is the risk of a false-positive result.’
      • ‘Earplugs and other anti-radiation products may protect you from potential harm.’
      • ‘Once BW agents have fallen to the ground, these are not likely to cause harm in humans, unless through secondary ingestion of contaminated materials.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘One should not risk potential harm to the client by abandoning the role of therapist for the potentially incongruent role of advocate.’
      • ‘Another misconception is that race-conscious admission policies somehow shame or harm underrepresented students of color.’
      • ‘We think it is important that drinkers are aware of larger measures and the potential harm of drinking too much.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘There's a huge amount of shame associated with causing harm to patients with an error, and it's not readily confessed.’
      • ‘Because children are still developing, they are at a greater risk for potential harm from pesticide exposure, say experts.’
      • ‘In reversing his position, Ashcroft told Mueller that the value of disclosing the information outweighs the potential harm to national security.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The fact is that our legal system gives victims a tiny fraction of the actual harm caused to them by the negligence of others.’
      • ‘Intravenous drug errors are a potential source of serious harm for patients and risk reduction strategies should be developed accordingly.’
      • ‘We accept that freedom of expression has the potential to cause harm to others.’

verb

[WITH OBJECT]
  • 1 Physically injure.

    ‘the villains didn't harm him’
    • ‘An absolute right to freedom of expression neither physically harms anybody nor deprives them of their property.’
    • ‘There is no use fighting intolerance by physically harming someone.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Although the 62-year-old was not physically harmed, he was badly shaken by the time the police came to his rescue.’
    • ‘Under my amendment, parents will still be able to smack their children if they don't harm them physically or mentally.’
    • ‘The teen was threatened, but not physically harmed although the attack left her traumatized, Thiessen said.’
    • ‘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.’’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘For example, if a commercial statement misleads us about a drug's safety or an automobile's safety, we stand to be harmed physically.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘They may believe that they never physically harm anyone but in fact may cause serious psychological damage or pain.’
    • ‘This taxi driver became violent and physically harmed me.’
    • ‘You do not have the right to physically harm other people.’
    • ‘My grief worsened to the point where I stopped eating and began physically harming myself.’
    • ‘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.’
    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. 1.1Damage the health of.
      ‘smoking when pregnant can harm your baby’
      • ‘Yet dozens of workers are absolutely sure that the building is harming their health, if not outright killing them.’
      • ‘Computers treated with certain flame retardants may be harming the health of those who use them.’
      • ‘Environmentalists claim the waves were harming the health of local residents.’
      • ‘Even with respect to mercury contamination, which was harming human health, the federal government has not honoured its treaty and constitutional obligations.’
      • ‘The diet which builds up their titanic physiques also harms their health in the long term.’
      • ‘In short, why do those whose health has been harmed by pollution so rarely challenge the industries that they believe are responsible for it?’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Antibiotics might bring benefit to individuals with mild infections while harming public health by increasing microbial resistance.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘We want to prevent waste from damaging the environment and from harming human health.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Alcohol consumption becomes a sin when it corrupts righteous thought or behavior, harms health, or violates any civil law.’
      • ‘However, she was unaware that she was misusing the antibiotic and that she could also be harming her health.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Researchers are discovering that chronic sleep deprivation harms health, promoting weight gain and diabetes and reducing immunity.’
      • ‘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.’
    2. 1.2Have an adverse effect on.
      ‘this could harm his World Cup prospects’
      • ‘Ironically, farmers have said that the pesticides have had no effect in preventing the deadly insects from harming the crop.’
      • ‘Other reasons for not supporting a ban were that it would infringe people's rights and could harm business prospects.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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 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.’
      • ‘Too many new entrepreneurs harm their own prospects by underpricing their goods and services.’
      • ‘Bilingual education may actually be harming the prospects of many students who don't speak English.’
      • ‘Any residues that rinse out in the water would easily harm vulnerable seedlings and ruin your crop.’
      • ‘Reintroducing college fees could harm the prospects of improved access to third level education, the head of Irish universities has warned.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘In a belated move, the education authorities decided to crack down on teaching practices that are harming the neutrality of education.’
      • ‘In today's business climate - at least in the UK - displaying too much naked ambition can harm your career prospects, he says.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘Activists feared attacks would only harm a population already devastated by two decades of war and famine.’

Origin

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

Pronunciation:

harm

/hɑːm/