- firm, strict, or uncompromising: stern discipline.
- hard, harsh, or severe: a stern reprimand.
- rigorous or austere; of an unpleasantly serious character: stern times.
- grim or forbidding in aspect: a stern face.
Origin of stern1
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for sterner
But British parking attendants are made of sterner stuff than that.London Parking Warden Tickets Hillary Clinton's Car
October 15, 2013
But I doubt it would be enough to make a dent in Bishop Williamson, who seems to be made of sterner stuff.Holocaust? What Holocaust?
January 30, 2009
He was rid of Mrs. Hallam, if face to face with a sterner problem.The Black Bag
Louis Joseph Vance
The business of love was at hand—ever a sterner and crueller business than that of food-getting.
His school of life had been sterner, and he was himself of sterner stuff.
Some dread forewarning of a sterner fate seemed to hang above him.The Shadow of a Crime
With the coming of daylight a sterner spirit of inquiry came upon him.A Son of Hagar
Sir Hall Caine
- showing uncompromising or inflexible resolve; firm, strict, or authoritarian
- lacking leniency or clemency; harsh or severe
- relentless; unyieldingthe stern demands of parenthood
- having an austere or forbidding appearance or nature
- the rear or after part of a vessel, opposite the bow or stem
- the rear part of any object
- the tail of certain breeds of dog, such as the foxhound or beagle
- relating to or located at the stern
- Isaac. 1920–2001, US concert violinist, born in (what is now) Ukraine
Word Origin and History for sterner
Old English styrne "severe, strict," from Proto-Germanic *sternijaz (cf. Middle High German sterre, German starr "stiff," störrig "obstinate;" Gothic andstaurran "to be stiff;" Old Norse stara; Old English starian "to look or gaze upon"), from PIE root *ster-, *star- "be rigid" (see sterile).
c.1300, "hind part of a ship, steering gear of a ship," probably from Old Norse stjorn "a steering," related to styra "to guide" (see steer (v.)). Or the word may come from Old Frisian stiarne "rudder," which is also related to steer (v.).