Harsh vs Harmful - What's the difference?

harsh | harmful |

As adjectives the difference between harsh and harmful

is that harsh is unpleasantly rough to the touch or other senses while harmful is of a kind likely to be damaging; injurious.

As a verb harsh

is (slang) to negatively criticize.




  • Unpleasantly rough to the touch or other senses.
  • Severe or cruel.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2011 , date=November 5 , author=Phil Dawkes , title=QPR 2 - 3 Man City , work=BBC Sport citation , page= , passage=Great news for City, but the result was harsh on Neil Warnock's side who gave as good as they got even though the odds were stacked against them.}}


    * genteel


  • (slang) To negatively criticize.
  • Quit harshing me already, I said that I was sorry!
  • *
  • *
  • (slang) to put a damper on (a mood).
  • Dude, you're harshing my buzz.
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • *
  • Synonyms

    * rough

    Derived terms

    * harshly * harshness



    Alternative forms

    * harmfull (archaic)


  • of a kind likely to be damaging; injurious
  • Wear a hat to protect your skin from harmful sunlight.

    Usage notes

    * Nouns to which "harmful" is often applied: effect, consequence, impact, influence, emission, chemical, ingredient, substance, gas, agent, additive, drug, radiation, dust, organism, plant, animal, insect, action, act, behavior, component, content, activity, interference, use.


    * injurious; see also


    * beneficial * harmless

    See also

    * harm