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harsh

[hahrsh]
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adjective
  1. ungentle and unpleasant in action or effect: harsh treatment; harsh manners.
  2. grim or unpleasantly severe; stern; cruel; austere: a harsh life; a harsh master.
  3. physically uncomfortable; desolate; stark: a harsh land.
  4. unpleasant to the ear; grating; strident: a harsh voice; a harsh sound.
  5. unpleasantly rough, ragged, or coarse to the touch: a harsh surface.
  6. jarring to the eye or to the esthetic sense; unrefined; crude; raw: harsh colors.
  7. unpleasant to the taste or sense of smell; bitter; acrid: a harsh flavor; a harsh odor.

Origin of harsh

1250–1300; Middle English harsk; cognate with German harsch, Danish harsk rancid
Related formsharsh·ly, adverbharsh·ness, nouno·ver·harsh, adjectiveo·ver·harsh·ly, adverbo·ver·harsh·ness, nounun·harsh, adjectiveun·harsh·ly, adverb

Synonyms

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2. brusque, hard, unfeeling, unkind, brutal, acrimonious, bad-tempered. See stern1. 3. rough. 4. discordant, dissonant, unharmonious. 6. unesthetic.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for harsher

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • The brute in him urged him as madly in his desire as it did in his harsher tempers.

  • And here his voice grew louder and harsher, and with a ring of defiance in it.

    Lord Kilgobbin

    Charles Lever

  • Calavius was furious and paused, as if to give orders for harsher repression.

    The Lion's Brood

    Duffield Osborne

  • There were angry encounters in which harsh words and harsher blows were struck.

  • His chuckle was harsher this time, and had the ring of truth.

    A Spaceship Named McGuire

    Gordon Randall Garrett


British Dictionary definitions for harsher

harsh

adjective
  1. rough or grating to the senses
  2. stern, severe, or cruel
verb
  1. (tr) slang to cause (a state of elation) to be diminished or ended (esp in the phrases harsh someone's mellow and harsh someone's buzz)
Derived Formsharshly, adverbharshness, noun

Word Origin

C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Middle Low German harsch, Norwegian harsk rancid
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for harsher

harsh

adj.

originally of texture, "hairy," 1530s, probably from harske "rough, coarse, sour" (c.1300), a northern word of Scandinavian origin (cf. Danish and Norwegian harsk "rancid, rank"), related to Middle Low German harsch "rough, raw," German harst "a rake;" perhaps from PIE root *kars- "to scrape, scratch, rub, card" (cf. Lithuanian karsiu "to comb," Old Church Slavonic krasta, Russian korosta "to itch," Latin carduus "thistle," Sanskrit kasati "rubs, scratches"). Meaning "offensive to feelings" is from 1570s; "disagreeable, rude" from 1610s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper