- 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 sternest
The woman before her had been disciplined by sorrow to sternest self-control.Within the Law
I reprove it in the sternest terms, and I deplore the consequences it had.The Snare
It is the bad, that ever calls forth the sternest energies of human nature.The O'Donoghue
Charles James Lever
What have I ever done that the sternest critic could call rummy?Jill the Reckless
P. G. (Pelham Grenville) Wodehouse
These were the sternest estimates of his claim to social recognition.Robert Orange
John Oliver Hobbes
- 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 sternest
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.).