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

Definition of harshen

transitive verb

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

intransitive verb

: to become harsh saw the grain of his skin harshening over face bones— Elizabeth Bowen

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for harshen



Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of harshen in a Sentence

recent changes to the drunk driving laws harshen penalties for repeat offenders
Recent Examples on the Web 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, "Philosophy Is Launching Nature in a Jar, a New Natural Skin-Care Line," 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, "Significant moments in Putin's 18 years of power," 18 Mar. 2018

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

First Known Use of harshen

1824, in the meaning defined at transitive sense

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about harshen

Time Traveler for harshen

Time Traveler

The first known use of harshen was in 1824

See more words from the same year

Statistics for harshen

Cite this Entry

“Harshen.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harshen. Accessed 10 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on harshen

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for harshen

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with harshen

Comments on harshen

What made you want to look up harshen? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Original Meanings Quiz

  • rembrandt painting a young scholar and his tutor
  • Which of the following is the earliest known sense of the word awe?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Add Diction

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!