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stern1

[sturn] /stɜrn/
adjective, sterner, sternest.
1.
firm, strict, or uncompromising:
stern discipline.
2.
hard, harsh, or severe:
a stern reprimand.
3.
rigorous or austere; of an unpleasantly serious character:
stern times.
4.
grim or forbidding in aspect:
a stern face.
Origin of stern1
1000
before 1000; Middle English; Old English styrne
Related forms
sternly, adverb
sternness, noun
Synonyms
1, 2. adamant, unrelenting, unsympathetic, cruel, unfeeling. Stern, severe, harsh agree in referring to methods, aspects, manners, or facial expressions. Stern implies uncompromising, inflexible firmness, and sometimes a hard, forbidding, or withdrawn aspect or nature: a stern parent. Severe implies strictness, lack of sympathy, and a tendency to impose a hard discipline on others: a severe judge. Harsh suggests a great severity and roughness, and cruel, unfeeling treatment of others: a harsh critic.
Antonyms
1. lenient.
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for sterner
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • 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.

    White Fang Jack London
  • His school of life had been sterner, and he was himself of sterner stuff.

    White Fang Jack London
  • Some dread forewarning of a sterner fate seemed to hang above him.

  • With the coming of daylight a sterner spirit of inquiry came upon him.

    A Son of Hagar

    Sir Hall Caine
  • Had he been a man of sterner purposes I might have been uneasy and on my guard.

    Bardelys the Magnificent Rafael Sabatini
  • There was a sort of pride in his own higher type of devotion, his sterner passion.

    The Manxman Hall Caine
  • They awaited the touch of sterner forces than those of man for their changes.

    The Web of the Golden Spider

    Frederick Orin Bartlett
British Dictionary definitions for sterner

stern1

/stɜːn/
adjective
1.
showing uncompromising or inflexible resolve; firm, strict, or authoritarian
2.
lacking leniency or clemency; harsh or severe
3.
relentless; unyielding: the stern demands of parenthood
4.
having an austere or forbidding appearance or nature
Derived Forms
sternly, adverb
sternness, noun
Word Origin
Old English styrne; related to Old High German stornēn to alarm, Latin sternāx stubborn, Greek stereos hard

stern2

/stɜːn/
noun
1.
the rear or after part of a vessel, opposite the bow or stem
2.
the rear part of any object
3.
the tail of certain breeds of dog, such as the foxhound or beagle
adjective
4.
relating to or located at the stern
Word Origin
C13: from Old Norse stjōrn steering; see steer1

Stern

/stɜːn/
noun
1.
Isaac. 1920–2001, US concert violinist, born in (what is now) Ukraine
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sterner

stern

adj.

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).

stern

n.

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.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Idioms and Phrases with sterner
The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary
Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.
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Nearby words for sterner

Word Value for sterner

7
8
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