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harsh (adj.)

originally of texture, "hairy," 1530s, probably from Middle English harske "rough, coarse, sour" (c. 1300), a northern word of Scandinavian origin (compare 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" (source also of Lithuanian karšiu, karšti "to comb," Old Church Slavonic krasta, Russian korosta "scab," Latin carduus "thistle," Sanskrit kasati "rubs, scratches"). Meaning "offensive to feelings" is from 1570s; that of "disagreeable, rude" from 1610s.

harsh (v.)

1580s, "sound harshly," from harsh (adj.). Meaning "make harsh, subject to harshness" is by 1991. Related: Harshed; harshing. Harshen is attested from 1821.

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Definitions of harsh

harsh (adj.)
sharply disagreeable; rigorous;
the harsh facts of court delays
Synonyms: abrasive
harsh (adj.)
unpleasantly stern;
wild and harsh country full of hot sand and cactus
Synonyms: rough
harsh (adj.)
unpleasantly rough or jarring to the senses;
harsh cognac
the harsh white light makes you screw up your eyes
harsh irritating smoke filled the hallway
the harsh cry of a blue jay
harsh (adj.)
unkind or cruel or uncivil;
had harsh words
a harsh and unlovable old tyrant
Synonyms: rough
harsh (adj.)
severe;
a harsh penalty
harsh (adj.)
of textures that are rough to the touch or substances consisting of relatively large particles;
Synonyms: coarse
From wordnet.princeton.edu