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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web As the Soviets, who were mostly Ukrainians, struggled with the cold and harsh terrain, the Finns wore them down. Sune Engel Rasmussen, WSJ, 13 May 2022 Everything seems either too drying, too harsh, or even too heavy. The Salt Lake Tribune, 9 May 2022 The pros advise against invasive or harsh treatments such as extractions, microneedling and peels, instead leaning into creating definition, luminosity, and the enhancement of natural beauty. Kiana Murden, Vogue, 4 May 2022 Reinforcements to the latest GR86's front and rear subframes lend it a more refined, solid-feeling ride that is appropriately taut but not flinty or harsh. Eric Stafford, Car and Driver, 28 Apr. 2022 Biden, as head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, helped shepherd through the 1994 crime bill that many criminal justice experts say contributed to harsh sentences and mass incarceration of Black people. Aamer Madhani, Chron, 26 Apr. 2022 Biden, as head of the Senate Judiciary Committee, helped shepherd through the 1994 crime bill that many criminal justice experts say contributed to harsh sentences and mass incarceration of Black people. Anchorage Daily News, 26 Apr. 2022 Tom Cotton, of Arkansas and Ted Cruz, of Texas, all thought to be considering presidential bids in 2024, alleged Jackson imposed insufficiently harsh sentences such offenders. Arden Farhi, CBS News, 22 Apr. 2022 The three-quarter-length Pebax cleat plate delivers powerful propulsion without feeling too stiff and harsh like many entry-level spikes can. Cory Smith, Outside Online, 16 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Dictionary Entries Near harsh

Harsanyi

harsh

harshen

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Statistics for harsh

Last Updated

18 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Harsh.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/harsh. Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for harsh

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

More from Merriam-Webster on harsh

Nglish: Translation of harsh for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of harsh for Arabic Speakers

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