- The definition of harsh is someone or something unpleasant to the senses or feelings, or someone who is crude or extremely cruel.
- An example of harsh is walking outside to the bright sun after being in a dark room for a long time.
- An example of harsh is a performer being told by a critic that they're not talented.
- unpleasantly sharp or rough; specif.,
- grating to the ear; discordant
- too bright or vivid to the eye; glaring
- too strong to the taste; bitter
- not smooth to the touch; coarse
- unpleasantly crude, abrupt, or strained so as to be offensive to the mind or feelings: the harsh realities of death
- rough, crude, or forbidding in appearance: beneath his harsh exterior
- excessively severe; cruel or unfeeling: a harsh punishment
- oppressive, inhospitable, inclement, etc.: a harsh climate
Origin: Middle English harsk, akin to German harsch, rough, raw from Indo-European base an unverified form kars, to scratch, comb from source Classical Latin carduus, thistle, carrere, to card (wool)
Used by arrangement with John Wiley & Sons, Inc.
adjective harsh·er, harsh·est
- Unpleasantly coarse and rough to the touch. See Synonyms at rough.
- Disagreeable to the senses, especially to the sense of hearing.
- Severe, cruel, or exacting: harsh punishment; a harsh overseer.
- Unpleasant or uncomfortable: a harsh wilderness.
Origin: Middle English harsk, of Scandinavian origin.
- harshˈly adverb
- harshˈness noun