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 chemicalsb : 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.
Recent Examples of harsh from the Web
William H. Pate drew a short straw in life — born in Mississippi in 1845, dead at 16 during the harsh winter of 1861-62 with hundreds of other Confederate soldiers stationed at a Rebel camp in Hopkinsville, Kentucky.
Meanwhile, states in the north and northwest could see their fortunes mildly boosted by warming, with farming yields rising thanks to shorter winters and less need to ward off harsh cold in homes.
The intent is to give people a place to get out of the harsh winter elements.
Huge clouds of smog—created by coal fire and fog—made seeing runway lights nearly impossible in harsh weather.
In that new, harsh light, The Ranch’s cis-white-male orthodoxy—and its stridency about that—has a nasty tang.
Like Trump, he's been known to be harsh with the press.
The resulting column was overly harsh of the Sunday round in general, and not complimentary enough of Koepka in particular.
Most agreed that press treatment of Trump is too harsh.
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.
Origin and Etymology of harsh
Middle English harsk, of Scandinavian origin; akin to Norwegian harsk harsh
First Known Use: 14th centurySee Words from the same year
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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