Pronunciation: (härsh),[key] —adj. 1. ungentle and unpleasant in action or effect: harsh treatment; harsh manners. 2. grim or unpleasantly severe; stern; cruel; austere: a harsh life; a harsh master. 3. physically uncomfortable; desolate; stark: a harsh land. 4. unpleasant to the ear; grating; strident: a harsh voice; a harsh sound. 5. unpleasantly rough, ragged, or coarse to the touch: a harsh surface. 6. jarring to the eye or to the esthetic sense; unrefined; crude; raw: harsh colors. 7. unpleasant to the taste or sense of smell; bitter; acrid: a harsh flavor; a harsh odor.