1. made or become hard or harder.
  2. pitiless; unfeeling.
  3. firmly established or unlikely to change; inveterate: a hardened criminal.
  4. inured; toughened: a hardened trooper.
  5. rigid; unyielding: a hardened attitude.
  6. (of a missile base) equipped to launch missiles from underground silos.
  7. (of a missile) capable of being launched from an underground silo.

verb (used with object)

  1. to make hard or harder: to harden steel.
  2. to make pitiless or unfeeling: to harden one’s heart.
  3. to make rigid or unyielding; stiffen: The rigors of poverty hardened his personality.
  4. to strengthen or confirm, especially with reference to character, intentions, feelings, etc.; reinforce.
  5. to make hardy, robust, or capable of endurance; toughen.
  6. Military. to reinforce the structure of (a military or strategic installation) to protect it from nuclear bombardment.

verb (used without object)

  1. to become hard or harder.
  2. to become pitiless or unfeeling.
  3. to become rigid or unyielding; stiffen: His personality hardened over the years.
  4. to become confirmed or strengthened: His resistance hardened.
  5. to become inured or toughened: The troops hardened under constant fire.
  6. Commerce. (of a market, prices, etc.)
    1. to cease to fluctuate; firm: When the speculators withdrew from the market, the prices hardened.
    2. to rise higher.


  1. rigidly set, as in a mode of behaviour
  2. toughened, as by custom; seasoned
  3. (of a nuclear missile site) constructed to withstand a nuclear attack


  1. to make or become hard or harder; freeze, stiffen, or set
  2. to make or become more hardy, tough, or unfeeling
  3. to make or become stronger or firmerthey hardened defences
  4. to make or become more resolute or sethardened in his resolve
  5. (intr) commerce
    1. (of prices, a market, etc) to cease to fluctuate
    2. (of price) to rise higher


  1. a rough fabric made from hards

c.1200 (replacing Old English heardian) “to make (something) hard,” from hard + -en (1). Meaning “to become hard” is late 14c. Related: Hardened (figurative sense of “unfeeling” is from late 14c.); hardening.

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