harsh

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Synonym Chooser

How does the adjective harsh contrast with its synonyms?

Some common synonyms of harsh are rough, rugged, scabrous, and uneven. While all these words mean "not smooth or even," harsh implies a surface or texture distinctly unpleasant to the touch.

a harsh fabric that chafes the skin

When might rough be a better fit than harsh?

Although the words rough and harsh have much in common, rough implies points, bristles, ridges, or projections on the surface.

a rough wooden board

When could rugged be used to replace harsh?

While in some cases nearly identical to harsh, rugged implies irregularity or roughness of land surface and connotes difficulty of travel.

a rugged landscape

When is scabrous a more appropriate choice than harsh?

The words scabrous and harsh are synonyms, but do differ in nuance. Specifically, scabrous implies scaliness or prickliness of surface.

a scabrous leaf

Where would uneven be a reasonable alternative to harsh?

In some situations, the words uneven and harsh are roughly equivalent. However, uneven implies a lack of uniformity in height, breadth, or quality.

an old house with uneven floors

Thesaurus Entries Near harsh

Cite this Entry

“Harsh.” Merriam-Webster.com Thesaurus, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/harsh. Accessed 8 Feb. 2023.

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