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’
    • ‘It creates a natural sounding style from the harshness of the electric guitar.’
    • ‘I take a walk along the sands, free from the harshness of man-made noise.’
    • ‘Most people stayed inside with the blinds closed to avoid the terrible harshness of the light.’
    • ‘I try enunciating clearly, ironing out the harshness of my vowels.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He does not soften the harshness of 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.’
    • ‘This organ has a unique combination of poetry and harshness of sound.’
    • ‘The company insists the flavourings are added to take away the harshness of the tobacco.’
  • 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 post-Civil War plantation system only slightly mitigated the harshness of slavery.’
    • ‘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 his punishment reflects the degree of the family's economic loss.’
    • ‘Families of soldiers who flocked to these camps expected freedom and a respite from 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.’
    • ‘A friend of mine was incredulous about the harshness of the sentence.’
    • ‘The harshness of the penalties demonstrates the government's desire to send a very tough message.’
    • ‘The history of capital punishment clearly shows the desire to mitigate the harshness of this penalty by narrowing its scope.’
    • ‘Hearing the harshness of the penalty sobered him.’
    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’
      • ‘The journey back wasn't half as bad as the one up and soon the harshness of the landscape was gentled with green.’
      • ‘A gleaming silver locomotive barrels through desolate scrub, oblivious to the harshness of the environment.’
      • ‘The world wakens from the bleak harshness of winter and once more fills with warmth and new life.’
      • ‘The sheer harshness of the desert environment made onward movement an arduous task.’
      • ‘Only the heather remains robust as it thrived on the harshness of the autumn storms.’
      • ‘She finds comfort in the harshness of inhospitable Lapland.’
      • ‘Water is a benign, warm, and welcoming presence that relieves the senses from the harshness of the sun and offers sanctuary.’
      • ‘He was captivated by the scenery — the harshness of its cliffs and the calm of the inland villages.’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The harshness of the desert, and the perception that deserts are wastelands, kept people away for a long time.’