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Injure vs Harm vs Hurt vs Damage vs Impair vs Mar vs Spoil

Injure, harmhurtdamageimpairmarspoil all mean to affect someone or something so as to rob it of soundness, strength, or perfection or to reduce its value, usefulness, or effectiveness.

Injure in its earliest and still frequent sense means to do an injustice to or to wrong another (as by robbing him of his good name or of a rightful possession); in this sense it often suggests intent or knowledge on the part of one that injures.

The verb may also imply the infliction not of injustice but of something detrimental to one’s appearance, health, success, or comfort.

Harm is more specific than injure in stressing the infliction of pain, suffering, or loss.

Hurt usually implies the infliction of a wound whether to the body or feelings or to a thing capable of sustaining an injury; often, it is used where injure is also possible.

Damage implies an injury that results in lowered value or involves loss in effectiveness, attractiveness, or efficiency.

Impair, though coming close to damage in its meaning and often interchangeable with it, more frequently suggests deterioration or diminution (as in value, strength, or validity) or a weakening (as of a function or power of functioning).

Mar implies the infliction of an injury that disfigures or maims or involves the loss of a thing’s perfection or well-being.

Spoil (see also DECAY INDULGE ) carries a stronger implication of ruin than mar and suggests the operation of something that not only induces the impairment of strength, vigor, or value but also brings about their inevitable destruction.