- 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 sternly
Or as her mother tells her, sternly, “You got to accept that life is full of disappointments.”This Week’s Hot Reads: December 22, 2014
December 22, 2014
“The witness only thought that he had a sure thing,” the judge says sternly.What Tolstoy Teaches Us About Insider Trading
June 2, 2013
Every article on good divorce that I looked at sternly warned: “never disagree or argue in front of the children.”My Good Divorce: How One Woman Found Happiness Separating
June 9, 2012
As your president,” Bush said sternly, “I guarantee you, this violence will end.L.A. Riots Anniversary: 8 Infamous Videos
April 27, 2012
Instead, she released a sternly worded statement and took off with her sons to a house in the country.The Year of Women Fighting Back
November 30, 2009
The bridesmaids had been sternly forbidden to come into her room.K
Mary Roberts Rinehart
Hubertine was obliged to speak to her sternly, and tell her to be quiet.The Dream
"Perhaps you are mistaken there, my man," I said, as sternly as I could.In the Valley
"I will say nothing to him about that or any other matter," replied Margaret sternly.Fair Margaret
H. Rider Haggard
"Let me know the next story he tells; I'll cure him," said Mr. Morton, sternly.Night and Morning, Complete
- 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 sternly
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.).