Definition of harden in English:



  • 1Make or become hard or harder.

    no object ‘wait for the glue to harden’
    with object ‘bricks that seem to have been hardened by firing’
    • ‘They include any type of oil or fat that hardens when cold.’
    • ‘These oils harden when exposed to air and seal the wood.’
    • ‘If the weather warms up the pitch will harden and produce variable bounce,’ says Charles Downes.’
    • ‘Since Wegener's day, scientists have mapped and explored the great system of oceanic ridges, the sites of frequent earthquakes, where molten rock rises from below the crust and hardens into new crust.’
    • ‘Linseed oil putty is used because when it hardens, it contributes to the structure of the window.’
    • ‘The MIT team made the tags by randomly mixing microscopic glass spheres into transparent epoxy and then hardening the glue into wafers about the size of Chiclets.’
    • ‘The outside would immediately harden, but the inside would remain soft.’
    • ‘I have seen soft teeth harden after cod liver oil and lots of butter are added to the diet.’
    • ‘Heather has coped with a genetic disorder which thickens and hardens her bones and Tom gained his award for rescuing his toddler sister from drowning.’
    • ‘The glue-on patches have been just as ineffective, with most failures coming when the glue hardens and cracks and the patch peels away.’
    • ‘Don't bother trying to resist Jim Garrahy's Fudge Kitchen, where the fudge is made in front of you, spread out on a huge marble slab and left to harden before being passed around for sampling.’
    • ‘Tung oil will harden, not stay soft and oily as the typical oil finish you mention.’
    • ‘If it hardens in the firing pin hole, we may have to use a Dremel tool and a pick to get it out.’
    • ‘This isn't as much of a concern in the winter months, when the ground freezes over and hardens.’
    • ‘Instead of being mixed with liquid, they are mixed with a rubbery material that stays rubbery and doesn't harden like glue.’
    • ‘As the crystals form connections, the concrete stiffens, hardens, and gains strength.’
    • ‘These are essential for keeping fat and water dispersed evenly in an emulsion, and then binding the free water after freezing and hardening so ice crystal formation is negligible.’
    • ‘Thermoplastics, which soften when heated and harden when cooled, run the gamut from commodity to engineering plastics.’
    • ‘The Brazilian Rosewood oil penetrates wood, hardening and protecting individual fibers.’
    • ‘But this extra water doesn't just sit there as the concrete hardens; it moves through the concrete to an exposed surface and evaporates.’
    solidify, set, become hard, become solid, congeal, clot, coagulate, stiffen, thicken, cake, freeze, bake, crystallize
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    1. 1.1 Make or become more severe and less sympathetic.
      with object ‘she hardened her heart’
      • ‘My heart should not be hardening against him but it has and yet it feels like porcelain and as if it is starting to crack.’
      • ‘As the scale of the deal struck with the PDs emerges, that resentment is hardening.’
      • ‘They'll trumpet their exemplar's views when he says too much gothic severity hardens the heart, but probably don't care to publicise such statements as this.’
      • ‘Pro-Agreement loyalists in north Belfast report that attitudes are hardening.’
      • ‘The mood among the high command of the Israel Defence Forces and the soldiers battling on the streets hardened.’
      • ‘He looks as if he wants to speak, but then his eyes harden as she remains impassive.’
      • ‘Softly the wind blew his wispy hair, and his cheeks hardened, the shadows falling down as the sun set farther into the sky.’
      • ‘Jeff Leighton, FBU Executive Council member for the Yorkshire region, said there was no doubt attitudes had continued to harden since the strike began.’
      • ‘The opening line was, ‘Immigration, it seems, hardens hearts and softens brains like few other issues’.’
      • ‘A glut of sob stories, short memories and disenchantment over aid funds will create a backlash that hardens people's hearts toward tragedy.’
      • ‘They had been rejected, first, by the father of the child and then by a number of people who, after giving them shelter, eventually hardened their hearts and turned them out.’
      • ‘Over the years of life I had hardened my heart with hatred and mistrust.’
      • ‘Once again, the Labour Court has intervened in a bid to resolve the issues, but the trades unions' attitude to flotation is hardening.’
      • ‘Within the airline, attitudes appear to be hardening considerably.’
      • ‘But I will say this: if this conflict should widen, or go on much longer than anticipated, I have little doubt that public support will only harden.’
      • ‘If the truth be told, Biskind doesn't sound all that hardened to it.’
      • ‘An instant later her eyes seemed to harden and become as hard and cold as the rock whose color they took.’
      • ‘War hardens hearts, eats the economy, and cramps political liberty.’
      • ‘Drivers' expressions harden and freeze as ruts deepen, mud thickens and the suspicion dawns that 4WD may not after all be the complete antidote to the laws of gravity and friction, but still they press on.’
      • ‘You could feel the concern across the house about what action will be taken and the effect that it may have - but you could also sense that people were bracing themselves and hardening their hearts for tough decisions and a very long haul.’
      toughen, desensitize, inure, make insensitive, make tough, make unfeeling, case-harden, harden someone's heart
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    2. 1.2 Make or become tougher and more clearly defined.
      no object ‘suspicion hardened into certainty’
      • ‘No doubt plenty of people will harden in their support for the Democrats in the next election.’
      • ‘The spectacle has now hardened into tradition.’
      • ‘The lightness of the first film had hardened into a frantic, unpleasant quality - it's easily the worst of the series.’
      • ‘The generalised irreverence of his earlier films has hardened into a focused attack on the equal absurdities of war and the British class system.’
      • ‘He wasn't terribly popular in our part of the constituency and rumours, some of which have hardened into allegations, abounded.’
      • ‘And those opinions hardened into a kind of religious conviction beyond change when Hoddle left England in 1987.’
      • ‘The problem is not that America has hardened into red states and blue ones.’
      • ‘His heart froze into muddy ice and his eyes hardened into a wide glance.’
      • ‘Its pure white heart of snow often is hardened into grey and traitorous sleet.’
      • ‘He did this to harden up electoral support and build a core of activists committed not just to racism, but to fascism.’
      • ‘The country has long since hardened into its own shape, and whether it holds together or breaks into pieces is largely up to the Iraqis who now have it in their hands.’
      • ‘With the Lebanese government balking at an international investigation into the murder, tensions are rising and positions hardening.’
      • ‘The Tories seem to believe that they can harden up their core support through scapegoating.’
      • ‘It defends faith by preventing it from being hardened into abstractions.’
      • ‘A surprised burst of laughter softened Adrienne's face before it hardened into familiar lines.’
      • ‘His eyes hardened into bright emeralds and… I could be imagining it, but they had a somewhat reproachful gleam.’
      • ‘The US has hardened into two virulently opposed ideological and cultural camps that are almost equal in numbers.’
      • ‘Michael Howard has finally stopped wittering on about immigration after discovering that this is hardening up the Labour support.’
      • ‘They see that his supporters are hardening in their views but not increasing their numbers.’
      • ‘As far as the office itself is concerned, companies have to break away from their traditional reliance on the perimeter firewall and look to harden up defences from within.’
      toughen, desensitize, inure, make insensitive, make tough, make unfeeling, case-harden, harden someone's heart
      View synonyms
    3. 1.3no object (of prices of stocks, commodities, etc.) rise and remain steady at a higher level.
      • ‘Trade has kept pretty steady over the past week, with lamb prices hardening in response to smaller numbers on the market.’
      • ‘Regardless, companies would be wise to let others take the initial plunge for at least six months while XP hardens in the marketplace.’
      • ‘He said ‘As the prospects of a bumper EU harvest fade rapidly due to adverse weather conditions, market prices for grain will harden.’’
      • ‘The market is hardening all the time and I feel it will remain active over the coming months,’ said Stanley.’
      • ‘Similarly, the authors of a number of country case studies report evidence of greater wage and price flexibility with the hardening of the exchange rate commitment.’
      • ‘This boom has been fuelled by the Indian shipping rates which are an all time high due to tonnage charges hardening in the international market.’
      • ‘Harper puts great stock in the role of insurance as a way of both incentivizing efficient levels of target hardening and of coping with the risks of loss from such events.’
      • ‘Tighter supplies of beef cattle in the midlands and northern regions of the country has led to a further hardening on prices for this weeks kill.’
      • ‘Lamb prices are still holding pretty steady, with the odd sign they might be hardening.’
      • ‘Consequently less speculative accommodation is now being provided, which we believe will lead to rents hardening and a build-to-suit market becoming more preeminent.’
      • ‘‘By the time the standards harden, we have something that has been used by a lot of people,’ said Bob Sutor, IBM's director of e-Business strategy.’
      • ‘Property in Switzerland is becoming more popular with British skiers, as the French market hardens and becomes more expensive.’
      • ‘Goldman Sachs believes oil prices are continuing to harden and that buying at $55 per barrel forward offers huge potential gains to investors.’
      • ‘‘This is evident in a number of markets where rents are falling, but yields are not only holding steady, but in most instances hardening,’ he said.’
      • ‘Record low yields are being set this year, and yields will harden further for the foreseeable future.’
      • ‘The commercial insurance market is hardening, as they say in the insurance business.’
      • ‘Bord Gáis has not hiked prices by anything like that amount to the consumer, but it is coming under increasing pressure due to the hardening of prices on the wholesale market in Britain.’
      • ‘However, this is looking increasingly unrealistic as the view hardens that a sustained DRAM price recovery must happen for the PC industry's traditional uptick period to start in September.’
      • ‘The latest polling evidence suggests that while opposition to Britain joining the euro is hardening, popular support for the UK staying in membership of the European Union is at its strongest in nearly a decade.’
      • ‘ICICI's chief executive officer K.V.Kamath said that in spite of steel prices hardening globally, ICICI will not lend any further to the industry.’

Phrasal Verbs

  • harden something off

    • Inure a plant to cold by gradually increasing its exposure to it.

      • ‘Eggplants are very sensitive to transplant shock, so take extra care to harden them off properly.’
      • ‘A week or so before transplanting outdoors, harden them off, stop fertilizing and watering, and put plants outside each day to help them adjust to new growing conditions.’
      • ‘Gradually harden them off over three to five days by putting them in a protected shady spot, first for half a day, then a full day, and then gradually into full sun.’
      • ‘Don't put them outdoors, though, until all danger of frost has passed, and remember to harden them off properly.’
      • ‘Add moisture retaining granules and slow release fertiliser to the compost and gradually harden the plants off before putting them outside completely at the end of the month.’
      • ‘First the seedlings are hardened off by moving them outside in the flats for an hour or two the first day and increasing the time until, in a week, they stay out around the clock.’
      • ‘Not everyone has the luxury of a greenhouse, but plants can be hardened off by taking them outdoors during the day and bringing them in again in the late evening.’
      • ‘We've hardened the turf off with some high-potassium fertilizers and tried to keep any water on the surface of the greens to a minimum.’
      • ‘Place them out of direct sun on a light windowsill or in the greenhouse to grow on until they can be hardened off and planted out at the end of May.’
      • ‘I hardened it off for growing outside and transferred the whole lot into a large, blue glazed pot.’