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stark

[stahrk]
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adjective, stark·er, stark·est.
  1. sheer, utter, downright, or complete: stark madness.
  2. harsh, grim, or desolate, as a view, place, etc.: a stark landscape.
  3. extremely simple or severe: a stark interior.
  4. bluntly or sternly plain; not softened or glamorized: the stark reality of the schedule's deadline.
  5. stiff or rigid in substance, muscles, etc.
  6. rigid in death.
  7. Archaic. strong; powerful; massive or robust.
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adverb
  1. utterly, absolutely, or quite: stark mad.
  2. Chiefly Scot. and North England. in a stark manner; stoutly or vigorously.
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Origin of stark

before 900; (adj.) Middle English; Old English stearc stiff, firm; cognate with German stark strong; akin to Old Norse sterkr strong; akin to starch, stare; (adv.) Middle English sterke, derivative of the adj.
Related formsstark·ly, adverbstark·ness, noun

Synonym study

2, 3. See austere, bare1.

Stark

[stahrk; for 2 also German shtahrk]
noun
  1. Harold Rayns·ford [reynz-ferd] /ˈreɪnz fərd/, 1880–1972, U.S. admiral.
  2. Jo·han·nes [yoh-hah-nuh s] /yoʊˈhɑ nəs/, 1874–1957, German physicist: Nobel prize 1919.
  3. John,1728–1822, American Revolutionary War general.
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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for stark

simple, blunt, desolate, austere, harsh, depressing, grim, bleak, abrupt, arrant, bald, bare, blessed, complete, confounded, consummate, downright, entire, firm, flagrant

Examples from the Web for stark

Contemporary Examples of stark

Historical Examples of stark


British Dictionary definitions for stark

stark

adjective
  1. (usually prenominal) devoid of any elaboration; bluntthe stark facts
  2. grim; desolatea stark landscape
  3. (usually prenominal) utter; absolutestark folly
  4. archaic severe; violent
  5. archaic, or poetic rigid, as in death (esp in the phrases stiff and stark, stark dead)
  6. short for stark-naked
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adverb
  1. completelystark mad
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Derived Formsstarkly, adverbstarkness, noun

Word Origin for stark

Old English stearc stiff; related to Old Norse sterkr, Gothic gastaurknan to stiffen

Stark

noun
  1. (stɑːk) Dame Freya (Madeline) (ˈfreɪə). 1893–1993, British traveller and writer, whose many books include The Southern Gates of Arabia (1936), Beyond Euphrates (1951), and The Journey's Echo (1963)
  2. (German ʃtark) Johannes (joˈhanəs). 1874–1957, German physicist, who discovered the splitting of the lines of a spectrum when the source of light is subjected to a strong electrostatic field (Stark effect, 1913): Nobel prize for physics 1919
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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 stark

adj.

Old English stearc "stiff, strong" (related to starian "to stare"), from Proto-Germanic *starkaz (cf. Old Norse sterkr, Old Frisian sterk, Middle Dutch starc, Old High German starah, German stark, Gothic *starks), from PIE root *ster- "stiff, rigid" (see stare).

Meaning "utter, sheer, complete" first recorded c.1400, perhaps from influence of common phrase stark dead (late 14c.), with stark mistaken as an intensive adjective. Sense of "bare, barren" is from 1833. Stark naked (1520s) is from Middle English start naked (early 13c.), from Old English steort "tail, rump." Hence British slang starkers "naked" (1923).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper