American English

Definition of harsh adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (harsher, harshest)
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  1. 1cruel, severe, and unkind The punishment was harsh and unfair. The minister received some harsh criticism. the harsh treatment of slaves He regretted his harsh words. We had to face up to the harsh realities of life sooner or later.
  2. 2(of weather or living conditions) very difficult and unpleasant to live in a harsh winter/wind/climate the harsh conditions of poverty which existed for most people at that time
  3. 3too strong and bright; ugly or unpleasant to look at harsh colors She was caught in the harsh glare of the headlights. the harsh lines of concrete buildings opposite soft
  4. 4unpleasant to listen to a harsh voice
  5. 5too strong and rough and likely to damage something harsh detergents Ordinary soap can be too harsh for delicate skin.
adverb She was treated very harshly. Alec laughed harshly. His findings have been harshly criticized by fellow scientists.
noun [uncountable]
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: harsh