What does it mean to heal

Heal Definition & Meaning - Merriam-Webster


transitive verb



: to make free from injury or disease : to make sound or whole

heal a wound


: to make well again : to restore to health

heal the sick



: to cause (an undesirable condition) to be overcome : mend

the troubles … had not been forgotten, but they had been healed William Power


: to patch up or correct (a breach or division)

heal a breach between friends


: to restore to original purity or integrity

healed of sin

intransitive verb

: to become free from injury or disease : to return to a sound state

The cut has already healed.


  • cure
  • fix
  • mend
  • rehab
  • rehabilitate
  • set up

See all Synonyms & Antonyms in Thesaurus 

Example Sentences

You've got to give the injury time to heal. After the divorce, he needed some time to heal. The ointment will help heal the wound.

Recent Examples on the Web This product, which was first created in 1926, was formulated with ultra-protective ingredients like lanolin and beeswax, and calming agents like calendula and chamomile to heal dry skin all over the body and impart a dewy glow. Sophie Dweck, Town & Country, 16 Nov. 2022 Click here to see photos as students gather to heal and remember the victims. Nicole Fallert, USA TODAY, 15 Nov. 2022 Their experiences underscore how reimagining and redefining beauty on your own terms has the power to nourish, heal and unearth the version of you that feels truest. Martine Thompson, Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2022 Research suggests that exercise and meditation may also help heal the mind in some cases. Knvul Sheikh, BostonGlobe.com, 12 Nov. 2022 Aloe vera plants, in particular, also have medicinal properties and can help heal cuts, burns, and other skin ailments. Erica Sweeney, Good Housekeeping, 29 July 2022 Caron said returning the missionary collection items would help heal the intergenerational trauma and enable Indigenous peoples to tell their own story. Nicole Winfield, Anchorage Daily News, 21 July 2022 Tips from the pros: Don’t rush the process and carve out enough time to properly heal and recover. Jordyn Brown, Essence, 8 July 2022 Only honest dialogue can help heal a fractured culture that has so painfully betrayed women. CNN, 21 June 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'heal. ' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

Word History


Middle English helen, from Old English hǣlan; akin to Old High German heilen to heal, Old English hāl whole — more at whole

First Known Use

before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at transitive sense 1a

Time Traveler

The first known use of heal was before the 12th century

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Cite this Entry



“Heal.Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/heal. Accessed 21 Nov. 2022.

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Kids Definition


: to make or become healthy or whole

heal the sick

a cut that heals slowly

Medical Definition



: to make sound or whole especially in bodily condition


: to cure of disease or disorder

heal injured tissues

intransitive verb


: to return to a sound state

the wound heals


: to effect a cure




More from Merriam-Webster on


Nglish: Translation of heal for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of heal for Arabic Speakers

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Heal Definition & Meaning | Dictionary.com

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[ heel ]

/ hil /

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See synonyms for: heal / healed / healing / healable on Thesaurus.com

This shows grade level based on the word's complexity.

verb (used with object)

to make healthy, whole, or sound; restore to health; free from ailment.

to bring to an end or conclusion, as conflicts between people or groups, usually with the strong implication of restoring former amity; settle; reconcile: They tried to heal the rift between them but were unsuccessful.

to free from evil; cleanse; purify: to heal the soul.

verb (used without object)

to effect a cure.

(of a wound, broken bone, etc.) to become whole or sound; mend; get well (often followed by up or over).


2 compose, soothe.

3 purge, disinfect.

See synonyms for heal on Thesaurus.com


1, 2 irritate.

3 soil, infect.

See antonyms for heal on Thesaurus.com



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Origin of heal

before 900; Middle English helen,Old English hǣlan (cognate with Dutch helen,German heilen,Old Norse heila,Gothic hailjan), derivative of hālhale1, whole

synonym study for heal

1. See cure.


heal·a·ble, adjectivehalf-healed, adjectivepre·heal, verb (used with object)un·heal·a·ble, adjective

un·healed, adjectivewell-healed, adjective


heal , heel, he'll

Words nearby heal

headwear, headwind, headword, headwork, heady, heal, heal-all, healee, healer, Healey, healing

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2022

Words related to heal

alleviate, fix, improve, mend, rebuild, reconcile, regenerate, rehabilitate, rejuvenate, repair, restore, revive, settle, soothe, treat, ameliorate, attend, compose, conciliate, convalesce

How to use heal in a sentence

  • They haven’t even begun to pull the knife out, much less heal the wound.

    How Laurence Fishburne Gave Voice To ‘The Autobiography Of Malcolm X’|Joi-Marie McKenzie|September 17, 2020|Essence.com

  • If the injury led to death, the bones would not have healed.

    Women like Mulan didn’t need to go to war in disguise|Bethany Brookshire|September 4, 2020|Science News For Students

  • We need to do a lot better job listening to what’s going on and how we can be helpful and heal.

    Full Transcript: Sean Spicer on ‘The Carlos Watson Show’|Daniel Malloy|August 26, 2020|Ozy

  • While it still may have been possible for Nurkić to return had the 2019-20 season continued apace, the coronavirus-induced suspension of play gave him even more time to heal and work himself back into shape.

    With A Healthy Jusuf Nurkić, The Trail Blazers Are On The Cusp Of The Playoffs|Jared Dubin|August 11, 2020|FiveThirtyEight

  • However, despite the fact the Grizzlies will likely get Justise Winslow back on the floor now that his back injury has had time to heal, FiveThirtyEight is pessimistic about their chances of holding onto their spot.

    Who’s Who In The NBA Bubble: The Teams Just Along For The Ride|Jared Dubin|July 20, 2020|FiveThirtyEight

  • To break her self-destructive cycle and heal, she decides to hike 1,100 miles of the Pacific Crest Trail solo.

    Exclusive: The Making of Reese Witherspoon’s Golden Globe-Nominated ‘Wild’|Marlow Stern|December 12, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • We had decided we would make a film together because we both agreed about the importance of art as a way to heal.

    Blogger Shares and Shames Cancer in ‘Lily’|Amy Grantham|December 9, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • Heal STL was destroyed, as were several other shops and offices contained in the building that went up in smoke Monday night.

    The Baptism of Michael Brown Sr. and Ferguson’s Baptism by Fire|Justin Glawe|November 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • Then Heal STL was burned down Monday like a moribund body for cremation.

    The Baptism of Michael Brown Sr. and Ferguson’s Baptism by Fire|Justin Glawe|November 27, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • A bunch of old, white, rock titans come together with young, white, X Factor hotties to persuade Britain to heal Africa.

    Do They Know It’s Time to Stop Band Aid?|Tom Sykes|November 22, 2014|DAILY BEAST

  • One day as Mrs. Worthington stood beside her child she felt that God wanted to heal her.

    The value of a praying mother|Isabel C. Byrum

  • He sat stunned before the amazing revelation of how little time and distance had done to heal his hurt.

    Cabin Fever|B. M. Bower

  • Rest in our quiet family affection will soon heal you of this fever, for it is nothing else.

    Camille (La Dame aux Camilias)|Alexandre Dumas, fils

  • Enter my service, and you shall be rich and happy; my favors shall heal those wounded limbs.

    Catherine de' Medici|Honore de Balzac

  • Those are happiest whose wounds heal soonest,—to whom a life-time grief is unknown.

    Alone|Marion Harland

British Dictionary definitions for heal


/ (hiːl) /


to restore or be restored to health

(intr; often foll by over or up) (of a wound, burn, etc) to repair by natural processes, as by scar formation


  1. to treat (a wound, etc) by assisting in its natural repair
  2. to cure (a disease or disorder)

to restore or be restored to friendly relations, harmony, etc

Derived forms of heal

healable, adjectivehealer, nounhealing, noun, adjective

Word Origin for heal

Old English hælan; related to Old Norse heila, Gothic hailjan, Old High German heilen; see hale 1, whole

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Healing the inner child: how to prevent childhood traumas from ruining your adult life



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What is the inner child

This concept refers to any emotional and psychological baggage that a person carries from the first years of life.

The first person to talk about the inner child was the psychiatrist Carl Jung. According to his theory, the inner child archetype helps a person to reconnect with the past, because he remembers his childhood emotions and experiences. So it is easier for him to grow up and understand what he wants from the future.

The concept became popular after the release of John Bradshaw's bestselling book Coming Home: Reviving and Protecting the Inner Child in 1990. Modern psychological research confirms that early experiences are well remembered. They affect people in different ways. For example, for some, eternally critical parents have become an occasion to cultivate fortitude, for others, this is a trauma for life.

Why look for the inner child

Diane Raab

PhD, Healthline commentary

We all have an inner child. Communicating with him can make your life more prosperous and bring ease into it.

When the inner child is "healthy", it usually does not cause trouble in adulthood. But if he is "wounded", the person may repeat the wrong behaviors instilled in childhood. For example, a little girl who has seen her mother endure abuse from her father may contact the abuser herself in adulthood.

Communication with the inner child allows you to find the roots of current problems in childhood and get rid of them. Some people get the following in the process:

  • release repressed emotions;
  • recognize unmet needs;
  • change wrong patterns of behavior;
  • loosen up;
  • increase self-esteem.

How to find the inner child

Anyone can contact him and benefit from it. But sometimes disbelief and resistance become an obstacle.

If there is still skepticism, that's fine. Just try to look at the inner child not as a separate person, but as your past experience. This will help you approach your search with curiosity.

There are several ways to find the inner child.

Spend time with children

Playing with them will help you remember pleasant events from the past, learn to enjoy the little things, live in the moment, relax and feel happier. To get started, try, for example, hide and seek.

Children's fantasies sometimes emerge through imaginative play. Maybe before you imagined some scenarios, thanks to which you easily experienced difficult moments.

If you don't have your child yet, you can stay with the children of your friends or relatives.

Reminisce about your childhood

Try leafing through photo albums, re-read books and watch movies you once liked. If you have kept a diary, take a look at it. Ask relatives to share their memories of you. All this helps to return to the childish emotional state and connect with the inner child.

Another way to delve into the past is through a visualization exercise. If you find it difficult to remember what you looked like as a child, first look at old photographs. Then close your eyes and imagine yourself as a child. The image must be detailed. Think about what you are wearing, where you are, whether there is someone nearby. How are you feeling? A child can be lost, lonely, insecure, contented, strong.

During the exercise, sometimes it turns out that the inner child feels good, gives you strength, optimism. If he is suffering, you need to help him.

Do something you used to enjoy

Think about what you liked to do as a child. Maybe every summer they cycled to the creek, swam, fished, read in a dusty attic, or roller-skated. Perhaps now you have little entertainment that simply brings happiness.

Drawing and coloring can also help. During these activities, the active mind rests, so emotions that you do not pay attention to will appear on paper. Some of them may be related to the inner child.

Write a letter to your inner child

This is a powerful tool for connecting with your inner child. Writing will help deal with childhood experiences and emotions. There are no restrictions on the form of the exercise. You can talk about something specific or express any thoughts that come to mind.

Diana Raab

If you have wounds or injuries, write about them. This will help you connect with your inner child. During reunion with him, you can find the causes of adult phobias, fears and life stereotypes. Perhaps you understand why you have become the way you are.

Another way to get the inner child to talk is to ask him questions from the adult self, then let him answer and analyze the result. It's normal to be nervous about what a child might say. Especially if in childhood you experienced difficult emotions or you had a negative experience.

If you don't like the format of the letter, try talking out loud to your inner child.

Consult a psychotherapist

If you suspect that the connection with the inner child will bring up bad memories or feelings of fear, it is better to go to a psychotherapist. A therapist will support you and suggest strategies to help you cope with your emotions and trauma.

It is better if you find a therapist who has experience working with the inner child. The expert must know how to contact him and understand if he is suffering. If it turns out that the client had childhood traumas that are causing problems now, the specialist will offer psychotherapy.

How psychotherapists heal the inner child

Childhood trauma has long-term consequences. Therefore, if during communication with the inner child you realized that he was hurt or offended, he needs to be healed. This can be done with a psychotherapist. Experts have several techniques to help.

Empty Chair Technique

The therapist asks the client to sit in front of an empty chair and imagine that someone is sitting on it. For example, a parent or other relative. This person needs to be told about his feelings and thoughts, to explain what was missing from him in childhood. Also, a specialist may offer to change places with an imaginary character. For example, imagine yourself as your grandmother and listen to your inner child.

In therapy, you can get to know feelings from the past better and realize how they affect adult life. Some patients get to know the sides of the character that they tried to deny.

Schema Therapy

People who grew up in a hostile environment often exhibit maladaptive (incorrect) behavior patterns. Because of them, difficulties in relationships or with self-control can arise.

Schema therapy helps to get rid of problems that appeared in childhood. The key to success is that the therapist uses the re-education technique to meet the emotional needs of the person. For example, praise him. As a result, the patient changes his mind about himself and learns new patterns of behavior.

Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing

This type of therapy helps to cope with panic attacks, stress, painful memories and intrusive thoughts caused by childhood trauma.

During the session, the person focuses on bad thoughts, emotions or sensations. The therapist begins to move his hand left and right, and the patient follows the movement. Depending on which way the eyes look, the left or right hemisphere is activated. At this point, the brain begins to process negative information.

How to help the inner child on your own

Visualization is a way of healing that you can try yourself. The method is based on the fact that when we think about an action, the same parts of the brain begin to work as during execution.

Use your imagination and imagine yourself as a child at any stage of development where you have experienced stress or abuse. It could be your five year old self or your teenager. If necessary, consider that the child is adopted.

Visualize another inner self that will help heal the child. For example, a parent, advocate, compassionate, or therapist. Who exactly it will be is up to you.

The method is that you must re-educate yourself. Everything must be done to make the child feel safe and develop resilience. Let the second inner “I” take care of him, approve, satisfy his needs.

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How can I be healed? - Christian Science

Health is vital, whether we are talking about our body, relationships, finances or the environment. What can we do when we need healing in one of these areas of our lives?

The Bible sets the standard of healing for us based on eternal and universal spiritual laws. Realizing the full goodness of God and their inseparability from that goodness, inspired men and women found solutions to a wide range of human needs and experienced personal and life transformation. These cases were "not supernatural, but eminently natural" (Science and Health, p. xi), as Christian Science explains. Everyone can study and apply these spiritual-scientific ideas to the needs of today and find a solution that proves the mercy of God.

In the New Testament, Jesus says, “He who believes on Me, the works that I do, he will do also, and greater than these he will do…” (John 14:12). Scientific Christians fully acknowledge and believe in this promise of Jesus. Following his teachings and understanding the spiritual laws that he put into practice, they are committed to spiritual healing, which includes both the physical healing of diseases and disorders, and the change and improvement of life. Mary Baker Eddy's Science and Health with a Key to the Scriptures reveals how biblical healings happened and how we can bring about such healings for ourselves, our families, and the world.

This unique approach to healing has been proven effective for generations of Scientific Christians, in many cases after a medical diagnosis was made that the condition was incurable. Christian Science healing is not faith healing, positive thinking, or self-hypnosis. It requires the Christian faith in God and the understanding of God as unconditional and trustworthy goodness, for which nothing is impossible. The practice of such healing is Christian, that is, it involves living according to the teachings and example of Jesus. This practice is also scientific, that is, it involves living in accordance with the spiritual laws of God, which can be studied, understood and proven through healing and spiritual renewal.

Scientific Christians are always free to choose for themselves and their families the type of healthcare that meets their needs. However, by practicing Christian Science, many live happy and healthy lives without drugs and other systems of physical care.

Learn more about healing

There are many ways to learn about Christian Science healing, and many are willing to help.

  • A complete explanation of Christian Science healing can be found in the Christian Science textbook Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures Mary Baker Eddy.

  • Read more than a century of Christian Science healings documented in the Christian Science Herald.

  • Attend First Church of Christ Scientific service on Sunday or Wednesday.

  • Visit your local Christian Science Reading Room to ask questions, read Christian Science materials, or find a quiet place to read and pray.

  • Contact a Christian Science Practitioner(s). Practitioners are men and women around the world who have dedicated their lives to Christian healing. They provide spiritual support that leads to healing of all kinds of difficulties: physical, mental, financial, in relationships with others.

  • Learn how to become an effective Christian Science healer by enrolling in the Basic Course.

Healing examples

In Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy states that Jesus "established his mission on the spiritual foundation of Christ's healing" (p. 136). The practice of this system of Christian healing for over a century has resulted in significant healings of physical and mental disorders. In Christian Science, the power of prayer lies not only in faith alone, but in a deeper understanding of God's divine laws that encompass humanity. This understanding touches and transforms hearts. Many have found that as the presence and love of God become more real and tangible, healing and restoration will naturally occur.

Read the thousands of proven healings published in many languages ​​in the Christian Science Journal and in English in The Christian Science Journal and Christian Science Sentinel

Or visit testimonial meeting on Wednesdays in your area, or online (in English) to hear others tell how they have been healed through their prayers and Christian Science study.

Learn more