harsh·​en ˈhär-shən How to pronounce harshen (audio)
harshened; harshening ˈhär-sh(ə-)niŋ How to pronounce harshen (audio)

transitive verb

: to make (something, such as a voice) harsh

intransitive verb

: to become harsh
saw the grain of his skin harshening over face bonesElizabeth Bowen

Examples of harshen in a Sentence

recent changes to the drunk driving laws harshen penalties for repeat offenders
Recent Examples on the Web The mayor's new legislative effort will also seek to harshen penalties for firearms and ghost guns, officials said Monday. Beatrice Peterson, ABC News, 15 May 2023 Seven Memphis police officers were fired in the wake of Nichols' death, which sparked national uproar and harshened the spotlight on police brutality. Marlene Lenthang, NBC News, 4 May 2023 With the news of Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg’s historic indictment of Donald Trump on 34 felony counts of falsifying business records to cover up other crimes this April, the spotlight on the Justice Department has harshened. Hannah Story Brown, The New Republic, 18 Apr. 2023 Arizona activists have renewed their focus and condemnation on a bill that would harshen penalties for various crimes committed during an unlawful assembly following the three guilty verdicts against former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd. Perry Vandell, The Arizona Republic, 22 Apr. 2021 Unfortunately, the film only takes a cursory, superficial glance at this societal malady, as if a deeper dive would harshen the mellow of its romantic comedy. Odie Henderson, BostonGlobe.com, 12 July 2022 As time goes on, more voters could harshen their view of Biden, as all of these problems are under his tent now. Paul Bedard, Washington Examiner, 24 Feb. 2021 The impetus for the line came not just from the rise of the ingredient-conscious consumer, but also in response to the ever-harshening realities of modern life. Rebecca Dancer, Allure, 13 Dec. 2019 Protests by tens of thousands before the election and on the eve of his inauguration lead to legislation harshening penalties for unauthorized political protests. Fox News, 18 Mar. 2018

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'harshen.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1824, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Time Traveler
The first known use of harshen was in 1824

Dictionary Entries Near harshen

Cite this Entry

“Harshen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harshen. Accessed 22 May. 2024.

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