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>
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 his students.
He was sentenced to a harsh prison term.
He had harsh words for his opponent.
She has faced some extremely harsh criticism.
Origin and Etymology of harsh
Middle English harsk, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian harsk harsh
First Known Use: 14th century
Synonym Discussion of harsh
HARSH Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of harsh for English Language Learners
: 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 Defined for Kids
Definition of harsh for Students
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>
Seen and Heard
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