1. unpleasantly rough or jarring to the senses : drenched in a harsh white neon light | harsh guttural shouts.
2. cruel or severe : a time of harsh military discipline.
- (of a climate or conditions) difficult to survive in; hostile : the harsh environment of the desert.
- (of reality or a fact) grim and unpalatable : the harsh realities of the world news.
- having an undesirably strong effect : she finds soap too harsh and drying.