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)

  1. to draw a harrow over (land).
  2. to disturb keenly or painfully; distress the mind, feelings, etc., of.

verb (used without object)

  1. to become broken up by harrowing, as soil.

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.


  1. a borough of Greater London, in SE England.
  2. a boarding school for boys, founded in 1571 at Harrow-on-the-Hill, an urban district near London, England.


  1. any of various implements used to level the ground, stir the soil, break up clods, destroy weeds, etc, in soil


  1. (tr) to draw a harrow over (land)
  2. (intr) (of soil) to become broken up through harrowing
  3. (tr) to distress; vex

verb (tr) archaic

  1. to plunder or ravish
  2. (of Christ) to descend into (hell) to rescue righteous souls


  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)

agricultural implement, heavy wooden rake, c.1300, haru, from Old English *hearwa, apparently related to Old Norse harfr “harrow,” and perhaps connected with Old English hærfest “harvest” (see harvest). Or possibly from hergian (see harry).


“to drag a harrow over,” especially in harrowing of Hell in Christian theology, early 14c., from hergian (see harry). In the figurative sense of “to wound the feelings, distress greatly” it is first attested c.1600 in Shakespeare. Related: Harrowed; harrowing.

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