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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)
1. To stop feeling kindness and compassion toward someone or something. Don't harden your heart against people who need our help. It's not their fault they're in that situation.
2. To cause one to stop feeling kindness and compassion toward 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)
To ready or prepare oneself, often emotionally, for a difficult or unpleasant experience. How can I, as a therapist, ever harden myself to the pain of others? We all need to harden ourselves to the seriousness of Aunt Louise's diagnosis.
To systematically expose a young plant to outdoor conditions so that it adapts well when moved outside permanently. A noun or pronoun can be used between "harden" and "off." That delicate plant won't survive outside unless you harden it off first.
1. To cause something to become physically harder or more solid. In this usage, a noun or pronoun is used between "harden" and "up." The tub of ice cream was melting, so I stuck it in the freezer to harden it up.
2. To become physically harder or more solid. If the ice cream is melting, stick it in the freezer for a bit so it hardens up.
the same fire that melts the butter hardens the egg
The same experience will trigger different reactions in people (perhaps toughening some and causing others to weaken or fail). A: "How is Casey completely fine after the car accident, and I'm still terrified to drive?" B: "Well, the same fire that melts the butter hardens the egg, you know. It's OK to feel differently than she does."
Farlex Dictionary of Idioms. © 2015 Farlex, Inc, all rights reserved.
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.
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.
McGraw-Hill Dictionary of American Idioms and Phrasal Verbs. © 2002 by The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc.
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.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of Idioms by Christine Ammer. Copyright © 2003, 1997 by The Christine Ammer 1992 Trust. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
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.
Collins COBUILD Idioms Dictionary, 3rd ed. © HarperCollins Publishers 2012
ˌharden your ˈheart against somebody/somethingno longer be emotionally affected by somebody/something because you feel angry, bitter, etc., towards them/it: Doctors have to harden their hearts against the suffering they see every day.
Farlex Partner Idioms Dictionary © Farlex 2017