It was the sternest school of self-reliance, from babyhood to the grave, that human society is ever likely to witness.
These were the sternest estimates of his claim to social recognition.
Yet civilized nations acknowledge retaliation as the sternest feature of war.
"Answer me at once," said Mr. Wilton, in his sternest voice.
Then came the rugged unvarnished statement shouted forth in the speaker's sternest voice.
All were armed and ready for instant work of the sternest kind.
"It's worse; it's improper," cried Mrs. Parry in her sternest voice.
I reprove it in the sternest terms, and I deplore the consequences it had.
How different the despotism of a Spanish viceroy and the sternest rule of a British governor!
What have I ever done that the sternest critic could call rummy?
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.).