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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishharshharsh /hɑːʃ $ hɑːrʃ/ ●●○ adjective  1 conditionsSTRICT harsh conditions are difficult to live in and very uncomfortable syn severe The hostages are being held in harsh conditions.harsh winter/weather/climate the harsh Canadian winters a young girl suddenly exposed to the harsh realities of life2 treatment/criticismSTRICT severe, cruel, or unkindharsh criticism/treatment/punishment etc His theory met with harsh criticism from colleagues. the harsh measures taken against the protesters ‘She’s an idiot!’ ‘Aren’t you being a bit harsh?’ a harsh authoritarian regime He had harsh words (=severe criticism) for the Government.see thesaurus at strict3 soundBRIGHT unpleasantly loud and rough opp softharsh voice/laugh/tone etc His voice was harsh and menacing.4 light/colour unpleasantly bright opp soft She stood outside, blinking in the harsh sunlight.see thesaurus at bright5 lines/shapes etcUNPLEASANT ugly and unpleasant to look at the harsh outline of the factories against the sky6 cleaning substanceSPOIL too strong and likely to damage the thing you are cleaning My skin is quite sensitive and I find some soaps too harsh.harshly adverb ‘Shut up, ’ Boris said harshly.harshness noun [uncountable]
Examples from the Corpus
harshThe stage lighting is harsh.They suspended him? That seems pretty harsh.Her reaction to the child's bad behaviour was unnecessarily harsh.It revived concern over the harsh army round-ups in captured towns and villages.Since the building of that dam his terrain had been harsh, brutal and bad.the harsh Canadian wintersThe movie has received harsh criticism from the press."You'll do what I tell you, " he said, his voice harsh in her ear.The lighting in these offices is so harsh, it gives me a headache.In the harsh light of the street lamps Michelle looked tired and old.The refugees stumbled toward military buses, blinking at the harsh lights.The government has brought in harsh measures to combat the rioting taking place in many cities.Cheap loudspeakers often produce a harsh metallic tone.a harsh military regimeWondering this, I knew it would be harsh of me to blame him.War toys make children less sensitive to the harsh realities of war.Faces were stripped of pretence by the pitiless bombardment of harsh reality.It may seem harsh to punish him, but he has to learn that this kind of behaviour is unacceptable.Flight from reality, especially harsh, unpleasant reality.These myths serve as justification for the harsh views toward this segment of the population and consequently their punitive treatment.a harsh voiceThe wind made a harsh wailing sound in the trees.harsh realitiesBeing shackled to one epoch meant it had to change and adapt but try to reconcile this with harsh realities.This attractive theory was too often proved untenable by the harsh realities.One of the harsh realities about the electronic media is that it chews up its stars as fast as it creates them.The cold, harsh realities of life are for other people to worry about.Like a bucket of cold water the harsh realities of life drown your sunny optimism leaving you feeling despondent.Acknowledging the sometimes harsh realities of our own history should not be cause for self-flagellation and blame.the harsh realities of prisonThey continue to perpetrate the discredited myth of economic invincibility rather than reflect the harsh realities of recession and reunification.Unlike Soviet history-painting, however, the harsh realities of the bad old days were never alluded to.harsh wordsBecause, of course, she couldn't argue with the sense that lay behind his harsh words.These harsh words and also sticks and stones.It may mean heated arguments, harsh words and hurt feelings, but once the air is cleared everyone will feel better.She had only a few harsh words, mostly for Hollywood and its denizens.I should put aside the harsh words that had been said, I should try to make the best of everything.Nguyen followed my gesture and immediately rattled off some harsh words that sent the boys back to work.Their brisk assimilation, and their steady success, caused some harsh words to be spoken.He has harsh words to say about eclecticism.harsh voice/laugh/tone etcWhat if the fortune-teller was destroying her hope and joy with that strange, harsh voice.An owner's anger at some feline misdeed usually involves harsh tones and fixed staring.Concealed amongst the coats, Frankie listened to the grunts of the animals and the low harsh voices of the men.As he did so, he heard Angel One's harsh voice shout something unintelligible.In soft passages the effect can be quite beautiful, but with loud and harsh tones the dissonances can be very forceful.
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