- 1[intransitive, transitive] to become or make something become firm, stiff, or solid The varnish takes a few hours to harden. harden something a method for hardening and preserving wood
- 2[intransitive, transitive] if your voice, face, etc. hardens, or you harden it, it becomes more serious or severe Her face hardened into an expression of hatred. harden something He hardened his voice when he saw she wasn't listening.
- 3[intransitive, transitive] if someone's feelings or attitudes harden or someone or something hardens them, they become more fixed and determined Public attitudes to the strike have hardened. Their suspicions hardened into certainty. Opinion seems to be hardening against the invasion. harden something The incident hardened her resolve to leave the company.
- 4[transitive, usually passive] harden somebody/something/yourself to make someone less kind or less affected by extreme situations Joe sounded different, hardened by the war. They were hardened criminals (= they showed no regret for their crimes). In this job you have to harden your heart to pain and suffering. Life has hardened me. I need to harden myself against disappointment.
NAmE//ˈhɑrdn//Verb Forms present simple I / you / we / they harden
he / she / it hardens
past simple hardened
-ing form hardening
hardeningjump to other results
noun [uncountable, singular] hardening of the arteries a hardening of attitudes toward one-parent families