toggle menu
1000+ books


used in a sentence
(click/touch triangles for details)
Definition frightening or unsettling

Much more rarely, harrowing can mean breaking apart soil on a farm. Even more rarely (and archaically), it can mean harrying or harassing as in:  "We are harrowing their army as they advance northward."
  • It was a harrowing journey through war-torn Afghanistan.
harrowing = frightening
  • The story is especially harrowing because it could have happened to any of us.
  • harrowing = frightening or unsettling
  • My most harrowing conversations were with financiers and bankers I'd known for years, major players from very large companies around the country, whose voices were tightened by fear. [of the 1987 stock market crash]
    Alan Greenspan  --  The Age of Turbulence
  • ...the contrast ... between my former and my present opinion of her, was so harrowing - so distressing to my feelings, that it swallowed up every lighter consideration.
    Anne Bronte  --  The Tenant of Wildfell Hall
  • I wanted myself to die, and yet I clung to life—useless and hopeless and harrowing a thing as it had become.
    Edgar Rice Burroughs  --  The Land That Time Forgot
  • These occasions are becoming harrowing times for us all. For each sunrise and sunset opens up some new danger,
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • harrowing = frightening
  • Apparently before he phoned me he'd just had a long, rather harrowing letter from your latest headmaster, to the effect that you were making absolutely no effort at all.
    J.D. Salinger  --  The Catcher in the Rye
  • harrowing = unsettling
  • Then we cut off the head and filled the mouth with garlic. ... Before we moved away Van Helsing said, "Now, my friends, one step of our work is done, one the most harrowing to ourselves."
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • harrowing = frightening or unsettling
  • I was a little inclined to take his seriousness lightly, for, after all, four days of rest and freedom from burning, harrowing, anxiety does help to restore one's spirits, but when I saw his face, it sobered me.
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • harrowing = frightening
  • Van Helsing ordered the former arrangement to be adhered to, explaining that, as Lord Godalming was coming very soon, it would be less harrowing to his feelings to see all that was left of his fiancee quite alone.
    Bram Stoker  --  Dracula
  • harrowing = unsettling
  • March 19, 2003—After seventeen harrowing days, Colton's family returns to Imperial.
    Todd Burpo  --  Heaven Is for Real
  • The march south from McKonkey's Ferry was for many the most harrowing part of the night.
    David G. McCullough  --  1776
  • How he must have loved harrowing them with descriptions of her activities with the store, the mills, the saloon.
    Margaret Mitchell  --  Gone with the Wind
  • Did she want to be exposed in the media by a police investigation in which the most harrowing, intimate details would be leaked in a matter of hours?
    Stieg Larsson  --  The Girl Who Played with Fire
  • I'll hear his harrowing plea the rest of my life!
    Jules Verne  --  Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea
  • But when an old man falls, and dogs disfigure his grey head and cheek and genitals, that is most harrowing of all that men in their hard lives endure.
    Homer  --  The Iliad
  • It had been my talisman on a harrowing journey, an escape from Ethiopia which he knew nothing about.
    Abraham Verghese  --  Cutting for Stone
  • You want the luxury of harrowing yourself by thinking what a poor, bawling, wretched, story-book wife I am.
    Sinclair Lewis  --  Arrowsmith
  • When he did, it was always harrowing.
    Octavia Butler  --  Kindred
  • He had never heard anything more harrowing.
    Milan Kundera  --  The Unbearable Lightness of Being

Dictionary / pronunciation — Google®Dictionary list —®
Search for other examples by interest
General — Google News®
General — Time® Magazine
General — Wikipedia®
Architecture — Google® books - Architecture
Business — Bloomberg®
Business — The Economist®
Classic Literature — Google® books - Classical Literature
Engineering — Google® books - Engineering
Engineering — Popular Mechanics®
Engineering — Discover Magazine®
Fine Arts & Music — Google® books - Art
History — Google® books - History
Human Behavior — Google® books - Psychology
Human Behavior — Psychology Today®
Law — FindLaw®
Law — Google® books - Law
Logic & Reasoning — Google® books - Reasoning
Medicine — Web MD®
Medicine — Google® books - Medicine
Nature & Ecology — National Geographic®
Nature & Ecology — Google® books - Nature
Personal Finance — Kiplinger® (Personal Finance)
Philosophy — Google® books - Philosophy
Public Policy & Politics — Newsweek®
Public Policy & Politics — Real Clear Politics®
Public Policy & Politics — Google® books - Politics
Religion & Spirtuality — Google® books - Religion
Religion - Christianity — Bible Gateway®
Religion - Christianity — Google® books - Christianity
Science — Popular Science®
Science — Scientific American®
Science — Google® books - Science
Sports — Sports Illustrated®