- 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 harshly
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
He admits that his men kidnapped, harshly interrogated, and then killed her.‘We Killed Sushmita Banerjee’ Says Renegade Taliban Militia
Sami Yousafzai, Ron Moreau
September 14, 2013
It was harshly repressed during the American surge, but it was never really defeated.Al Qaeda Is Back
July 26, 2013
The activists there—numbering about 55 or 60 by nine in the evening yesterday—were harshly critical of Obama.Obama's Presence Shields Palestinian "Anti-Settlement," For Now
March 21, 2013
By viewing Zionism as racism, many Palestinians saw Israelis harshly as cruel brutes.Delegitimizing Israel Makes Peace Harder to Achieve
February 28, 2013
Thus across all the globe there harshly blow the winds of change.
Well, he told himself, harshly, he was not likely to get it.
After this she would be on her guard, forestall Martin, do tenderly what he would do harshly.
"Do not speak so harshly of poor King Pluto," said Prosperina, kissing her mother.Tanglewood Tales
The woman asked him harshly, if he couldn't come home with the others.What Sami Sings with the Birds
- 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 harshly
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.