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harrowing

[har-oh-ing] /ˈhær oʊ ɪŋ/
adjective
1.
extremely disturbing or distressing; grievous:
a harrowing experience.
Origin
1800-1810
1800-10; harrow1 + -ing2
Related forms
harrowingly, adverb
Synonyms
painful, agonizing, tormenting, heartbreaking.

harrow1

[har-oh] /ˈhær oʊ/
noun
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.
verb (used with object)
2.
to draw a harrow over (land).
3.
to disturb keenly or painfully; distress the mind, feelings, etc., of.
verb (used without object)
4.
to become broken up by harrowing, as soil.
Origin
1250-1300; Middle English harwe; akin to Old Norse herfi harrow, Dutch hark rake, Greek krṓpion sickle
Related forms
harrower, noun

harrow2

[har-oh] /ˈhær oʊ/
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.
Origin
before 1000; Middle English harwen, herwen, Old English hergian to harry
Related forms
harrowment, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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Examples for harrowing
  • The route is challenging, even harrowing at times, but the rewards are ample.
  • The music is somber and the visuals are utterly harrowing.
  • The experience remains one of the most traumatic and harrowing experiences of my life.
  • The survivors have harrowing stories of escape.
  • It was an anxious, sometimes harrowing read, but worth it.
  • The book opens with a harrowing and knowing story about a couple splitting up.
  • The game allows teenage misfits to become mythic superheroes and face epic adventures and harrowing challenges.
  • There were just far too many harrowing stories to hear, many were personal accounts by our parents and grandparents.
  • My most harrowing experience was in Cairo.
  • Behind the black humor, though, were some harrowing truths.
British Dictionary definitions for harrowing

harrow1

/ˈhærəʊ/
noun
1.
any of various implements used to level the ground, stir the soil, break up clods, destroy weeds, etc, in soil
verb
2.
(transitive) to draw a harrow over (land)
3.
(intransitive) (of soil) to become broken up through harrowing
4.
(transitive) to distress; vex
Derived Forms
harrower, noun
harrowing, adjective, noun
Word Origin
C13: of Scandinavian origin; compare Danish harv, Swedish harf; related to Middle Dutch harke rake

harrow2

/ˈhærəʊ/
verb (transitive) (archaic)
1.
to plunder or ravish
2.
(of Christ) to descend into (hell) to rescue righteous souls
Derived Forms
harrowment, noun
Word Origin
C13: variant of Old English hergian to harry

Harrow

/ˈhærəʊ/
noun
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)
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
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Word Origin and History for harrowing
harrow
"agricultural implement, heavy wooden rake," c.1300, haru, from O.E. *hearwa, apparently related to O.N. harfr "harrow," and perhaps connected with O.H.G. herbist "harvest" (see harvest). Also possibly from hergian (see harry).
harrow
especially in harrowing of Hell in Christian theology, from hergian (see harry). In the figurative sense of "to wound the feelings, distress greatly" it is first attested c.1600 in Shakespeare.
harrowing
"extremely distressing, painful," 1810, from harrow (q.v.).
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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harrowing in the Bible

(Heb. harits), a tribulum or sharp threshing sledge; a frame armed on the under side with rollers or sharp spikes (2 Sam. 12:31; 1 Chr. 20:3). Heb. verb _sadad_, to harrow a field, break its clods (Job 39:10; Isa. 28:4; Hos. 10: 11). Its form is unknown. It may have resembled the instrument still in use in Egypt.

Easton's 1897 Bible Dictionary
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Encyclopedia Article for harrowing

Harrow

outer borough of London, forming part of its northwestern perimeter, in the historic county of Middlesex. Previously a municipal borough, Harrow became a London borough in 1965. It includes (from northwest to southeast) the areas of Pinner Green, Hatch End, Stanmore, Pinner, Harrow Weald, Burnt Oak, Harrow Garden Village, Harrow (with Harrow on the Hill), Wealdstone, Northolt Park, and Roxeth.

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harrow

farm implement used to pulverize soil, break up crop residues, uproot weeds, and cover seed. In Neolithic times, soil was harrowed, or cultivated, with tree branches; shaped wooden harrows were used by the Egyptians and other ancient peoples, and the Romans made harrows with iron teeth.

Learn more about harrow with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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