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- The quality of being harsh.
- 1891, Thomas Hardy, Tess of the d'Urbervilles:
- And yet these harshnesses are tenderness itself when compared with the universal harshness out of which they grow; the harshness of the position towards the temperament, of the means towards the aims, of to-day towards yesterday, of hereafter towards to-day.
- 1914, Louis Joseph Vance, chapter II, in Nobody, New York, N.Y.: George H[enry] Doran Company, published 1915, OCLC 40817384:
- She wakened in sharp panic, bewildered by the grotesquerie of some half-remembered dream in contrast with the harshness of inclement fact, drowsily realising that since she had fallen asleep it had come on to rain smartly out of a shrouded sky.