- adjective unpleasant, inferior. An all-purpose negative, briefly a vogue term among Californian adolescents in the mid-1990s.
- adjective good, impressive. In this reversed or ironic sense, recorded among British mods of the 1960s and US high-school and college students of the 1990s, the word is one of a large set of near-synonyms including savage, brutal, tough, etc., which have been adopted into adolescent codes.
- used to describe a very astringent wine that has a high level of alcohol and excessive tannin. This type of wine will probably not improve with age.
Origin & History of “harsh”
originally meant ‘hairy’. Its ancestor
Low German harsch
, was a derivative of the noun haer
‘hair’, and its exact English
equivalent would have
. By the time
English acquired it, it had broadened out in meaning to ‘rough’, both
literally and figuratively.