harsh

adjective
\ ˈhärsh How to pronounce harsh (audio) \

Definition of harsh

1 : having a coarse uneven surface that is rough or unpleasant to the touch granite stones harsh with lichen— Nancy Hale
2a : causing a disagreeable or painful sensory reaction : irritating harsh colors harsh lighting her harsh high-pitched voice The horseradish was too harsh for the children. : overly intense or powerful harsh chemicals
b : physically discomforting The climate there is very harsh. a harsh winter : unpleasant and difficult to accept or experience the harsh realities of poverty a harsh reminder of the importance of wearing a seat belt
3 : excessively critical or negative had some harsh words for her opponent a harsh critic : unduly severe in making demands harsh discipline
4 : lacking in aesthetic appeal or refinement : crude a harsh and sometimes unpleasant book, barren of pretty touches— Brendan Gill

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Other Words from harsh

harshly adverb
harshness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Examples of harsh in a Sentence

The climate there is very harsh. We've had an extremely harsh winter. It's time for her to face the harsh realities of this situation. The accident serves as a harsh reminder of the importance of wearing a seat belt. The lighting in the room was very harsh. The state has established harsh penalties for drug dealers. She has been criticized for her harsh treatment of her students. He was sentenced to a harsh prison term. He had harsh words for his opponent. She has faced some extremely harsh criticism.
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Recent Examples on the Web Cord cutting hasn't had as harsh an impact on cable TV providers, however, because most are also among the top providers of broadband home Internet service. Aaron Pressman, Fortune, "Cord cutting is breaking records during the pandemic," 21 Sep. 2020 But like so much that underpins modern American life, they weren’t designed to accommodate the increasingly harsh extremes of climate change. Christopher Flavelle, New York Times, "How California Became Ground Zero for Climate Disasters," 20 Sep. 2020 The duress defense doesn’t necessarily spare a defendant from being found guilty, but can persuade judge to dole out a less harsh sentence. Joel Rosenblatt, Bloomberg.com, "Theranos Ex-CEO’s Defense Shift Signals She’ll Be Cast as Victim," 15 Sep. 2020 In modern times, the liberty of free speech can often protect even harsh examples of satire. Roger J. Kreuz, The Conversation, "Charlie Hebdo shootings served as an extreme example of the history of attacks on satirists," 15 Sep. 2020 Milwaukee teams have struggled The COVID stoppage in March felt like a particularly harsh interruption for Milwaukee. Jr Radcliffe, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "2020 was supposed to be a banner year in Wisconsin sports. Instead, it feels hollow," 11 Sep. 2020 The spirit of adventure seems to come with an embrace of solitude and isolation, all traits that may help adaptation to these harsh environments. Emily Willingham, Scientific American, "Mountain Peaks Seem to Shape Personality Traits in the American West," 8 Sep. 2020 The university charged Pavlou with eleven misconduct allegations and then suspended him for two years, an unusually harsh punishment that was later reduced after charges of bias. Michael Johns Jr., National Review, "Australia Faces Down the Dragon," 8 Sep. 2020 Voatz is far from the only company working on online voting—other online voting systems have gotten equally harsh reviews from security experts. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Why experts are overwhelmingly skeptical of online voting," 3 Sep. 2020

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

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First Known Use of harsh

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for harsh

Middle English harsk, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian harsk harsh

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Time Traveler for harsh

Time Traveler

The first known use of harsh was in the 14th century

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Statistics for harsh

Last Updated

26 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Harsh.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harsh. Accessed 28 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for harsh

harsh

adjective
How to pronounce harsh (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of harsh

: 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

harsh

adjective
\ ˈhärsh How to pronounce harsh (audio) \
harsher; harshest

Kids Definition of harsh

1 : causing physical discomfort a harsh climate
2 : having an unpleasant or harmful effect often because of great force or intensity a harsh sound a harsh soap
3 : severe or cruel : not kind or lenient harsh punishment

Other Words from harsh

harshly adverb
harshness noun

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Comments on harsh

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