- harsh; unnecessarily extreme: severe criticism; severe laws.
- serious or stern in manner or appearance: a severe face.
- grave; critical: a severe illness.
- rigidly restrained in style, taste, manner, etc.; simple, plain, or austere.
- causing discomfort or distress by extreme character or conditions, as weather, cold, or heat; unpleasantly violent, as rain or wind, or a blow or shock.
- difficult to endure, perform, fulfill, etc.: a severe test of his powers.
- rigidly exact, accurate, or methodical: severe standards.
Origin of severe
SynonymsSee more synonyms for severe on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for severe
And that realization comes at the cost of severe, public embarrassment for many, including the victim/proposed.Public Marriage Proposals Must Die
December 28, 2014
This concern ceased after the Spanish warned of severe punitive measures on the family members of suicides.The Life and Hard Times Of The Family A Cuban Defector Left Behind
December 19, 2014
“That was the longest, most severe S/M session I have experienced in my thirty-four-year tenure,” she writes in the book.Whip It: Secrets of a Dominatrix
November 25, 2014
The new term denotes a spectrum of problem drinking that can range from mild to moderate to severe.Americans Drink Too Much, But We’re Not All Alcoholics
November 25, 2014
And while such a severe punishment is questioned every few years, it works.How UVA Is Failing Its Women
November 20, 2014
The blow was a bit too severe and the Egyptian fell down dead.Ancient Man
Hendrik Willem van Loon
Had I been subject only to his examination, my ordeal would not have been severe.
Well, indeed, might my mother say, that I should have severe trials.Clarissa, Volume 1 (of 9)
In severe obedience to orders, therefore, he did not even now call.Weighed and Wanting
She had held her inclinations in check with severe judgment.Ester Ried Yet Speaking
- rigorous or harsh in the treatment of others; stricta severe parent
- serious in appearance or manner; stern
- critical or dangerousa severe illness
- causing misery or discomfort by its harshnesssevere weather
- strictly restrained in appearance; austerea severe way of dressing
- hard to endure, perform, or accomplisha severe test
- rigidly precise or exact
Word Origin and History for severe
1540s, from Middle French severe (12c., Modern French sévère) or directly from Latin severus "serious, grave, strict, austere" (see severity). From 1660s with reference to styles or tastes; from 1725 of diseases.