Definition of harshness in English:



mass noun
  • 1The quality of being unpleasantly rough or jarring to the senses.

    ‘he slowly opened his eyes to the harshness of the light’
    ‘the harshness of her tone of voice’
    ‘glycerin can be added to reduce the harshness of the soap on the skin’
    • ‘Most people stayed inside with the blinds closed to avoid the terrible harshness of the light.’
    • ‘This organ has a unique combination of poetry and harshness of sound.’
    • ‘I try enunciating clearly, ironing out the harshness of my vowels.’
    • ‘He does not soften the harshness of noise.’
    • ‘The company insists the flavourings are added to take away the harshness of the tobacco.’
    • ‘I take a walk along the sands, free from the harshness of man-made noise.’
    • ‘I was immediately drawn to the extreme harshness of his guitar playing and the eerie, murky production.’
    • ‘The harshness of the Belfast twang has dissipated little during an illustrious football career away from his homeland.’
    • ‘The best way to appreciate a whisky is to pour a gram in a tumbler and add just a small splash of water to open up the flavours and aromas, and remove the harshness of the neat liquor.’
    • ‘It creates a natural sounding style from the harshness of the electric guitar.’
  • 2The quality of being cruel or severe.

    ‘he has a reputation for the harshness of his judgments’
    ‘the harshness of the regime’
    ‘lies enable us to smooth over the cold, brutal harshness of reality’
    • ‘The history of capital punishment clearly shows the desire to mitigate the harshness of this penalty by narrowing its scope.’
    • ‘The harshness of his punishment reflects the degree of the family's economic loss.’
    • ‘The post-Civil War plantation system only slightly mitigated the harshness of slavery.’
    • ‘The harshness of the punishment reflected the fear in society.’
    • ‘There are clearly concerns about the harshness of the sentences but we are more concerned that they are consistent.’
    • ‘Hearing the harshness of the penalty sobered him.’
    • ‘Families of soldiers who flocked to these camps expected freedom and a respite from the harshness of slavery.’
    • ‘A friend of mine was incredulous about the harshness of the sentence.’
    • ‘The astonishingly high number who perished reflects the harshness of the regime the Nazis imposed on the Greek population as a whole.’
    • ‘The harshness of the penalties demonstrates the government's desire to send a very tough message.’
    1. 2.1 The condition of being difficult to live in.
      ‘spring is a welcome relief from the harshness of winter’
      ‘the harshness of the Scottish climate’
      • ‘Only the heather remains robust as it thrived on the harshness of the autumn storms.’
      • ‘She finds comfort in the harshness of inhospitable Lapland.’
      • ‘A rare portrait in stone has been lying in an open field, half buried, exposed to the harshness of sun and rain, and utterly neglected.’
      • ‘A gleaming silver locomotive barrels through desolate scrub, oblivious to the harshness of the environment.’
      • ‘The journey back wasn't half as bad as the one up and soon the harshness of the landscape was gentled with green.’
      • ‘The world wakens from the bleak harshness of winter and once more fills with warmth and new life.’
      • ‘He was captivated by the scenery — the harshness of its cliffs and the calm of the inland villages.’
      • ‘The harshness of the desert, and the perception that deserts are wastelands, kept people away for a long time.’
      • ‘Water is a benign, warm, and welcoming presence that relieves the senses from the harshness of the sun and offers sanctuary.’
      • ‘The sheer harshness of the desert environment made onward movement an arduous task.’