- ungentle and unpleasant in action or effect: harsh treatment; harsh manners.
- grim or unpleasantly severe; stern; cruel; austere: a harsh life; a harsh master.
- physically uncomfortable; desolate; stark: a harsh land.
- unpleasant to the ear; grating; strident: a harsh voice; a harsh sound.
- unpleasantly rough, ragged, or coarse to the touch: a harsh surface.
- jarring to the eye or to the esthetic sense; unrefined; crude; raw: harsh colors.
- unpleasant to the taste or sense of smell; bitter; acrid: a harsh flavor; a harsh odor.
Origin of harsh
SynonymsSee more synonyms for harsh on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for harsher
Julio Cardenas, 25 and an MC from the group RCA, was older but with a youthful smile that hid the harsher sides of Cuban life.Cuban Hip-Hop Was Born in Alamar
December 26, 2014
So will the grandmother-to-be inspire female voters next cycle, or will they judge her on a harsher scale?Can Hillary Clinton Count on Women This Time?
April 19, 2014
The world of The Walking Dead is a harsher place than that and its characters will suffer a lot more than Brad Pitt ever did.What ‘The Walking Dead’ Can Learn From ‘World War Z’
February 7, 2014
Being a celebrity chef, though, sometimes means a harsher spotlight on new ventures.Chopped? Amanda Freitag Hopes Not
February 4, 2014
According to the human-rights group, the proposed law is harsher than those proposed by past rulers.Egypt Rages Over Proposed Protest Ban
October 21, 2013
The brute in him urged him as madly in his desire as it did in his harsher tempers.The Twins of Suffering Creek
And here his voice grew louder and harsher, and with a ring of defiance in it.Lord Kilgobbin
Calavius was furious and paused, as if to give orders for harsher repression.The Lion's Brood
There were angry encounters in which harsh words and harsher blows were struck.The House of Pride
His chuckle was harsher this time, and had the ring of truth.A Spaceship Named McGuire
Gordon Randall Garrett
- rough or grating to the senses
- stern, severe, or cruel
- (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)
Word Origin and History for harsher
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.