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harden (one's) heart
To stop or cause one to stop feeling kindness and compassion. I worry that all the trauma she's already been through at such a young age will harden her heart.
harden (one's) heart against (someone or something)
To stop or keep someone from feeling kindness and compassion towards someone or something. I worry that all the trauma she's already been through at such a young age will harden her heart against other people.
harden oneself to something
Fig. to make oneself capable of bearing something unpleasant. You will have to learn to harden yourself to tragedies like this. They happen every day in a hospital. She had learned to harden herself to the kinds of poverty she had to work in.
See also: harden
harden something off
to accustom a young plant to normal weather so it can be moved from a protected environment to the out-of-doors. We put the plants by the open window to harden them off. We hardened off the plants.
harden something up
to make something hard or strong. Put the meat in the freezer awhile to harden it up before you try to slice it thin. Harden up the ice cream a little in the freezer.
harden one's heart
Feel no sympathy for, as in We can't afford to give them more; we'll just have to harden our hearts when they ask . [Late 1300s]
steel one's heart against
Also, harden one's heart. Suppress one's feelings for, as in He finally steeled his heart against them and refused the loan, or You'll just have to harden your heart and tell them the truth. This metaphoric idiom transfers making something hard to rendering oneself insensible or unfeeling. Versions of it date from the late 1500s. Also see heart of stone.
harden your heart
If you harden your heart, you force yourself not to feel love or sympathy for someone or something. Note: The heart is traditionally regarded as the centre of the emotions. The weeping continued. Lionel hardened his heart against the sound. The government's violent response to the mass action will only harden the people's hearts against the ruling party. Note: You can also say that your heart hardens. Anna saw the hurt in her father's eyes and her heart hardened.