- harsh; unnecessarily extreme: severe criticism; severe laws.
- serious or stern in manner or appearance: a severe face.
- grave; critical: a severe illness.
- rigidly restrained in style, taste, manner, etc.; simple, plain, or austere.
- causing discomfort or distress by extreme character or conditions, as weather, cold, or heat; unpleasantly violent, as rain or wind, or a blow or shock.
- difficult to endure, perform, fulfill, etc.: a severe test of his powers.
- rigidly exact, accurate, or methodical: severe standards.
Origin of severe
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for severest
He inculcates his students in political economy of the severest "virtue of selfishness" type.David's Bookclub: Hard Times
September 24, 2012
Any country that gives him refuge must be made to disgorge him, or else pay the severest price in sanctions.The Case for Prosecuting Libya's Muammar Gaddafi
March 1, 2011
It received the praise of Gifford, the severest of English critics.Biographical Sketches
It was the fiery ordeal that summons human character to the severest trial.Imogen
The severest of the masters, with all his sarcasm, was simply nothing to him.The Coast of Bohemia
William Dean Howells
This he said in the severest tone which he knew how to assume.Kept in the Dark
The night of the 11th and 12th of November was one of the severest of that terrible winter.The Man With The Broken Ear
- rigorous or harsh in the treatment of others; stricta severe parent
- serious in appearance or manner; stern
- critical or dangerousa severe illness
- causing misery or discomfort by its harshnesssevere weather
- strictly restrained in appearance; austerea severe way of dressing
- hard to endure, perform, or accomplisha severe test
- rigidly precise or exact
Word Origin and History for severest
1540s, from Middle French severe (12c., Modern French sévère) or directly from Latin severus "serious, grave, strict, austere" (see severity). From 1660s with reference to styles or tastes; from 1725 of diseases.