Definition of harrow in English:



  • An implement consisting of a heavy frame set with teeth or tines which is dragged over ploughed land to break up clods, remove weeds, and cover seed.

    • ‘The most common tools used by farmers were metal tipped ploughs for turning over the soil and harrows to cover up the soil when seeds had been planted.’
    • ‘The adequate preparation is often achieved by ripping the land when the soil has good moisture, followed by chisel ploughing and the use of a fine harrow for fine seed preparation.’
    • ‘They should also be equipped with press wheels to produce good seed-to-soil contact and a harrow to scatter residue and help cover seed.’
    • ‘German farmers used spike-tooth harrows extensively to control weeds in small grains fields before the coming of herbicides.’
    • ‘For this task, the farmer hitched the horse to a harrow which was dragged along the ground to break up the clods.’


[with object]
  • 1Draw a harrow over (land)

    ‘they ploughed and harrowed the heavy clay’
    • ‘The nearby dairy farmer plowed and harrowed the garden, and we planted cover crops of annual ryegrass and winter rye.’
    • ‘The new site will not be ready for about two weeks after they move off, and whilst it will be ploughed and harrowed it will still need cultivating.’
    • ‘The soil is ploughed and harrowed smooth whilst waiting for the suitable time to transplant young shoots of rice that have been pre-planted in small, separate paddies.’
    • ‘Wheat fields are harrowed before the crop emerges to get the first flush of weeds.’
    • ‘The field is harrowed to kill the weeds which have already sprouted, then the corn will emerge soon afterwards.’
  • 2Cause distress to.

    ‘Todd could take it, whereas I'm harrowed by it’
    • ‘I read many accounts as harrowing as what you see in this movie, and we felt a great responsibility to them.’
    • ‘As harrowing as these scenes may be, they fail to excite the same level of discomfort as the taciturn Brady who glares blankly into the audience.’
    • ‘Breaking with them - even when that means walking away from violence - can be harrowing.’
    • ‘I saw where the atomic bomb exploded: it's harrowing, imagining what people went through.’
    • ‘I mostly watched it through my fingers, as it's one of the most harrowing films I've ever seen.’
    • ‘Eerie and harrowing, the film seethes with barely suppressed ferocity.’
    • ‘It was harrowing to watch, and must have been truly terrible to witness.’
    • ‘For these men to even admit they have been hit by their wives is harrowing, never mind having to seek help from the police or a woman solicitor.’
    • ‘Well I suppose at once extremely harrowing to give the evidence but in many ways extremely cathartic to do so.’
    • ‘As harrowing as this discovery was, Byrne took some comfort in it since it offered an explanation for Alice's mental problems.’
    • ‘The film is a harrowing tale about a woman who wakes up to find her husband dead.’
    • ‘The scenes in the US last week were deeply harrowing and distressing.’
    • ‘The reports he made from the prison visits are harrowing.’
    • ‘The film shows the harrowing reality behind the newspaper hysteria over ‘bogus’ refugees.’
    • ‘Judging by excerpts already published, the last couple of years have been even more harrowing for the player than most of us suspected.’
    • ‘Because of the flawed layout and the speed of the dual carriageway traffic, driving along this stretch of road can be harrowing.’
    • ‘He sits in on interviews which can last up to seven hours and can be harrowing if the refugees have had traumatic experiences.’
    • ‘The jury had heard harrowing and distressing evidence about the shooting.’
    • ‘He says visiting some malls and big shopping plazas on weekends can be harrowing.’
    • ‘Before yesterday's hearing began he told families some of the evidence would be particularly harrowing.’
    distress, trouble, afflict, grieve, torment, torture, crucify, rack, sear, pain, wound, mortify, cause agony to, cause suffering to
    distressing, traumatic, upsetting, heartbreaking, heart-rending, shocking, disturbing, painful, affecting, haunting, appalling, tragic, horrifying
    View synonyms


Middle English: from Old Norse herfi; obscurely related to Dutch hark ‘rake’.