Definition of harsh adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//hɑːʃ//
    ; NAmE NAmE//hɑːrʃ//
    (harsher, harshest) Describing unpleasant traits
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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. See related entries: Describing unpleasant traits
  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 Wordfinderarid, climate, continental climate, equatorial, frigid, harsh, humidity, rainfall, tropical, zone
  3. 3too strong and bright; ugly or unpleasant to look at harsh colours 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.
  6. Word OriginMiddle English: from Middle Low German harsch ‘rough’, literally ‘hairy’, from haer ‘hair’.Extra examples It may seem harsh to criticize him after his death. ‘Stop it!’ she said in a harsh voice. He later regretted his harsh words. He stood outside, blinking in the harsh sunlight. Life expectancy is extremely low due to the harsh conditions. Many of the prisoners died during the harsh winter of 1683. Nothing can justify such harsh treatment of prisoners. The minister received some harsh criticism. The view was spoiled by the harsh lines of concrete towers. These plants will not grow in this harsh climate. They’ve painted the walls with harsh bright colours.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: harsh