adjective, se·ver·er, se·ver·est.

Nearby words

  1. severally,
  2. severalty,
  3. severance,
  4. severance pay,
  5. severance tax,
  6. severe acute respiratory syndrome,
  7. severe combined immune deficiency,
  8. severe combined immunodeficiency,
  9. severely,
  10. severinus

Origin of severe

1540–50; < Latin sevērus, or back formation from severity

2. strict, hard. See stern1. 4. unadorned. 7. demanding, exacting.

Related forms Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for severe

British Dictionary definitions for severe



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
Derived Formsseverely, adverbsevereness or severity (sɪˈvɛrɪtɪ), noun

Word Origin for severe

C16: from Latin sevērus

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

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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper