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.

1250–1300; Middle English harsk; cognate with German harsch, Danish harsk rancid

harshly, adverb
harshness, noun
overharsh, adjective
overharshly, adverb
overharshness, noun
unharsh, adjective
unharshly, adverb

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 Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
Cite This Source Link To harsh
World English Dictionary
harsh (hɑːʃ)
1.  rough or grating to the senses
2.  stern, severe, or cruel
3.  slang (tr) to cause (a state of elation) to be diminished or ended (esp in the phrases harsh someone's mellow and harsh someone's buzz)
[C16: probably of Scandinavian origin; compare Middle Low German harsch, Norwegian harsk rancid]

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
Cite This Source
Word Origin & History

originally of texture, "hairy," 1533, probably from harske "rough, coarse, sour" (c.1300), a northern word of Scand. origin (cf. Dan. and Norw. harsk "rancid, rank"), related to M.L.G. harsch "rough, raw," probably from PIE base *qars- "to scrape, scratch, rub" (cf. Lith. karsiu "to comb," O.C.S. krasta,
Rus. korosta "to itch," L. carduus "thistle," Skt. kasati "rubs, scratches").
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source
Example sentences
In retrospect, even he had to admit some of these quotes were harsh, though he
  rarely admitted they were wrong.
The six famous bridges date back as early as 1871, and were covered to preserve
  their wooden timbers from Iowa's harsh winters.
They did manage to survive, though, but it was harsh.
Too bad the price tag is even more painful than the harsh seat cushion.
Copyright © 2014 Dictionary.com, LLC. All rights reserved.
  • Please Login or Sign Up to use the Recent Searches feature