Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • transitive v. To make hard or harder.
  • transitive v. To enable to withstand physical or mental hardship.
  • transitive v. To make unfeeling, unsympathetic, or callous: "To love love and not its meaning hardens the heart in monstrous ways” ( Archibald MacLeish).
  • transitive v. To make sharp, as in outline.
  • transitive v. To protect (nuclear weapons) by surrounding with earth or concrete.
  • intransitive v. To become hard or harder.
  • intransitive v. To rise and become stable. Used of prices.
  • intransitive v. To become inured.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • v. To become hard (tough, resistant to pressure).
  • v. To make something hard or harder (tough, resistant to pressure).
  • v. To become or make a person or thing resistant or less sensitive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • intransitive v. To become hard or harder; to acquire solidity, or more compactness.
  • intransitive v. To become confirmed or strengthened, in either a good or a bad sense.
  • transitive v. To make hard or harder; to make firm or compact; to indurate.
  • transitive v. To accustom by labor or suffering to endure with constancy; to strengthen; to stiffen; to inure; also, to confirm in wickedness or shame; to make unimpressionable.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • To make hard or more hard in substance or texture; make firm or compact; indurate: as, to harden steel, clay, or tallow; to harden the hands or muscles by toil.
  • To dry (clothes) by airing.
  • To make hard or harder in feeling; strengthen or confirm with respect to any element of character; inure; toughen; especially, to make indifferent, unfeeling, obstinate, wicked, etc.
  • Synonyms To accustom, discipline, train, toughen, habituate, steel, brace, nerve.
  • To become hard or more hard; acquire solidity or compactness: as, mortar hardens in drying.
  • To become inured or toughened; especially, to become unfeeling.
  • To rise in price; grow dear: as, the market hardens.
  • Of hards or inferior flax.
  • n. Hards or inferior flax.
  • n. A cloth of coarse fiber and texture, made from hards.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • v. make fit
  • v. cause to accept or become hardened to; habituate
  • v. harden by reheating and cooling in oil
  • v. become hard or harder
  • v. make hard or harder

Etymologies

hard +‎ -en (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • How inconstant are your feelings! but a moment ago you were moved by my representations, and why do you again harden yourself to my complaints?

    Chapter 17

  • As she watched his expression harden, she decided he wouldn't consider the comparison flattering.

    Only You

  • Elena could see the other’s eyes go cold, her expression harden to granite.

    Wit'ch Storm

  • "As long as the conflict goes on here, it's logical to assume that the attitudes of all sides will harden, which is deeply regrettable."

    Top Israel Rabbis: Don't Sell Property To Non-Jews

  • So, vigilance is really extremely important in this, but so are the efforts that are being made to so-called harden the country.

    CNN Transcript Feb 3, 2002

  • Glancing over at Lord Gunthar, he saw the knight's expression harden, and he knew he experienced the same thing.

    Test of the Twins

  • Think of how you would use such a causal model to describe what happened in the 1980's, when Barone argues that the corporate takeover boom and increased foreign competition served to "harden" America.

    Hard America, Soft America, Arnold Kling | EconLog | Library of Economics and Liberty

  • Gradually 'harden' seedings by bringing them outdoors for a few hours a day.

    You Say Tomato. They Say Phony.

  • Some funds could be allocated to "harden" defenses at facilities are vulnerable to terrorist attack, such as chemical plants and shipping terminals.

    Bob Burnett: Obama's First 100 Days: The Economy

  • We must help "harden" Afghanistan by strengthening its institutions at both the national and local levels, empowering Afghans to stop their neighbors from using their country as a geopolitical chessboard.

    Afghanistan Will Be a Quagmire for al Qaeda

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