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.
- harshly, adverb
- harshness, noun
- o·ver·harsh, adjective
- o·ver·harsh·ly, adverb
- o·ver·harsh·ness, noun
- un·harsh, adjective
- un·harsh·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use harsh in a sentence
When you’re the first of a community to do something, especially something that’s off the beaten path, people will come for you in the harshest way.Tan France Goes Deep on Racism and When He Almost Quit ‘Queer Eye’ | Eugene Robinson | September 3, 2020 | Ozy
Akita’s winters are so harsh that he had to live in a boarding house to be able to get to high school.How the son of strawberry pickers became Japan’s most likely choice for next prime minister | claychandler | September 3, 2020 | Fortune
Judged by the harsh biblical standards Immanuel School applies to LGBT people, Mike and Karen Pence deserve the same sentence.
After their harsh three-year sojourn, the thinnest layers of bacteria were fried by ultraviolet radiation.Clumps of bacteria could spread life between planets | Paola Rosa-Aquino | August 27, 2020 | Popular-Science
I mean, if you’re going to get paid a quarter of a million by some company after you leave office just to show up and schmooze and give a speech, then human nature is like, “Maybe I shouldn’t be too harsh on this company.”Why Is This Man Running for President? (Ep. 362 Update) | Stephen J. Dubner | December 19, 2019 | Freakonomics
Kids are safer when those who risk their safety are quickly, harshly, publicly and clearly punished.Is the Pope Finally Getting Serious About The Church’s Sex Scandals? | Barbie Latza Nadeau | September 25, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
There is a pro-cable bias that seems to forgive so-so shows and so-so series and judges network series harshly.‘The Good Wife’ Creators on the Premiere’s Big Cary Twist, Will’s Death, and More | Kevin Fallon | September 22, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
The heavyset wife wears a black abaya, has facial tattoos and croaks harshly when she speaks.Whatever You Do Someone Will Die. A Short Story About Impossible Choices in Iraq | Nathan Bradley Bethea | August 31, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
He changed how the people of his time engaged God, editing a theology that was often portrayed harshly and dogmatically.The Hellish Sermons of Jonathan Edwards, Malign Evangelist | Matthew Paul Turner | August 24, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
I held it in my arms until the alarm in the safe rang harshly, and then tenderly, proudly, I replaced it and shut the steel doors.Read ‘The King in Yellow,’ the ‘True Detective’ Reference That’s the Key to the Show | Robert W. Chambers | February 20, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
Not a word now,” cried Longcluse harshly, extending his hand quickly towards him; “I may do that which can't be undone.Checkmate | Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu
Yet if there is a measure of untruth in such pretty flatteries, one needs to be superhuman in order to condemn them harshly.Children's Ways | James Sully
"Slap your saddles on them fresh hosses," he grated harshly from the back of a deep-chested, lean-flanked gray.Raw Gold | Bertrand W. Sinclair
A knell from the church bell broke harshly on these youthful thoughts.Oliver Twist, Vol. II (of 3) | Charles Dickens
"You are quite well aware that you could never look otherwise than maddeningly beautiful," he said harshly.Dope | Sax Rohmer
British Dictionary definitions for harsh
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)
- harshly, adverb
- harshness, noun
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