- harshness, sternness, or rigor: Their lives were marked by severity.
- austere simplicity, as of style, manner, or taste: The severity of the decor was striking.
- intensity or sharpness, as of cold or pain.
- grievousness; hard or trying character or effect: The severity of his loss was finally becoming apparent.
- rigid exactness or accuracy.
- an instance of strict or severe behavior, punishment, etc.
Origin of severity
Examples from the Web for severities
When I spoke of its severities, she said for us to observe her directions, and we should not suffer.Mizora: A Prophecy
Mary E. Bradley
For accounts of French severities, see articles just quoted.The New World of Islam
During the thirteenth century the severities against the usurers were not relaxed.Usury
What severities of hardship were endured by our traveller may be judged from his description.The Great Company
Some times I could obtain a little conversation, notwithstanding their severities.Of the Capture of Ticonderoga
Word Origin and History for severities
late 15c., "austerity or strictness of life," from Middle French severite, from Latin severitas "seriousness, strictness, sternness," from severus "stern, strict, serious," of uncertain origin. Possibly from PIE root *segh- "to have, hold" (see scheme (n.)), or possibly from *se vero "without kindness," from se "without" (see secret) + *vero "kindness," neuter ablative of verus "true" (see very). Meaning "strictness in dealing with others" is recorded from 1520s.