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adjective \ˈhärsh\

: unpleasant and difficult to accept or experience

: having an unpleasant or harmful effect because of great strength or force : too intense or powerful

: severe or cruel : not kind

Full Definition of HARSH

:  having a coarse uneven surface that is rough or unpleasant to the touch
a :  causing a disagreeable or painful sensory reaction :  irritating
b :  physically discomforting :  painful
:  unduly exacting :  severe
:  lacking in aesthetic appeal or refinement :  crude
harsh·ly adverb
harsh·ness noun

Examples of HARSH

  1. The climate there is very harsh.
  2. We've had an extremely harsh winter.
  3. It's time for her to face the harsh realities of this situation.
  4. The accident serves as a harsh reminder of the importance of wearing a seat belt.
  5. The lighting in the room was very harsh.
  6. The state has established harsh penalties for drug dealers.
  7. She has been criticized for her harsh treatment of his students.
  8. He was sentenced to a harsh prison term.
  9. He had harsh words for his opponent.
  10. She has faced some extremely harsh criticism.

Origin of HARSH

Middle English harsk, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian harsk harsh
First Known Use: 14th century

Synonym Discussion of HARSH

rough, harsh, uneven, rugged, scabrous mean not smooth or even. rough implies points, bristles, ridges, or projections on the surface <a rough wooden board>. harsh implies a surface or texture distinctly unpleasant to the touch <a harsh fabric that chafes the skin>. uneven implies a lack of uniformity in height, breadth, or quality <an old house with uneven floors>. rugged implies irregularity or roughness of land surface and connotes difficulty of travel <a rugged landscape>. scabrous implies scaliness or prickliness of surface <a scabrous leaf>.

Rhymes with HARSH

HARSHNESS Defined for Kids


adjective \ˈhärsh\

Definition of HARSH for Kids

:  causing physical discomfort <a harsh climate>
:  having an unpleasant or harmful effect often because of great force or intensity <a harsh sound> <a harsh soap>
:  severe or cruel :  not kind or lenient <harsh punishment>
harsh·ly adverb
harsh·ness noun


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