1. Also har·vest·ing. the gathering of crops.
  2. the season when ripened crops are gathered.
  3. a crop or yield of one growing season.See Synonym Study at crop.
  4. a supply of anything gathered at maturity and stored: a harvest of wheat.
  5. the result or consequence of any act, process, or event: The journey yielded a harvest of wonderful memories.

verb (used with object)

  1. to gather (a crop or the like); reap.
  2. to gather the crop from: to harvest the fields.
  3. to gain, win, or use (a prize, product, or result of any past act, process, etc.): She has finally harvested the rewards of her dedication.
  4. to catch, take, or remove (animals), especially for food: Fishermen harvested hundreds of salmon from the river.
  5. to collect (any resource) for future use: to harvest solar energy; spammers who harvest email addresses.
  6. to extract (an organ or tissue) from a living or dead body, as for transplantation or research: to harvest a kidney; to harvest embryos.

verb (used without object)

  1. to gather a crop; reap.


  1. the gathering of a ripened crop
  2. the crop itself or the yield from it in a single growing season
  3. the season for gathering crops
  4. the product of an effort, action, etca harvest of love


  1. to gather or reap (a ripened crop) from (the place where it has been growing)
  2. (tr) to receive or reap (benefits, consequences, etc)
  3. (tr) mainly US to remove (an organ) from the body for transplantation

c.1400, from harvest (n.). Of wild animals, from 1947; of cells, from 1946. Related: Harvested; harvesting.


Old English hærfest “autumn, period between August and November,” from Proto-Germanic *harbitas (cf. Old Saxon hervist, Old Frisian and Dutch herfst, German Herbst “autumn,” Old Norse haust “harvest”), from PIE *kerp- “to gather, pluck, harvest” (cf. Sanskrit krpana- “sword,” krpani “shears;” Greek karpos “fruit,” karpizomai “make harvest of;” Latin carpere “to cut, divide, pluck;” Lithuanian kerpu “cut;” Middle Irish cerbaim “cut”).

The borrowing of autumn and the use of fall in a seasonal sense gradually focused the meaning of harvest to “the time of gathering crops” (mid-13c.), then to the action itself and the product of the action (after c.1300). Figurative use by 1530s. Harvest home (1590s) is the occasion of bringing home the last of the harvest; harvest moon (1706) is that which is full within a fortnight of the autumnal equinox.

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