[ stahrk ]
/ stɑrk /

adjective, stark·er, stark·est.


utterly, absolutely, or quite: stark mad.
Chiefly Scot. and North England. in a stark manner; stoutly or vigorously.

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.


stark·ly, adverbstark·ness, noun

synonym study for stark

2, 3. See austere, bare1. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for starkest

  • Eventually, in perhaps the starkest act of discrimination here, much of the road was closed to Palestinians altogether in 1994.

  • “It allows us to frame the contrast in the starkest terms possible,” a senior leadership aide said.

    The Democrats Target Millionaires|Patricia Murphy|October 7, 2011|DAILY BEAST
  • In Mandeville, and in Kaye, it is presented only in its barest and starkest form.

    A Letter to Dion|Bernard Mandeville
  • A sea-voyage lays bare many secrets and shows up human nature at its starkest.

    Jan and Her Job|L. Allen Harker

British Dictionary definitions for starkest (1 of 2)

/ (stɑːk) /



completelystark mad

Derived forms of stark

starkly, adverbstarkness, noun

Word Origin for stark

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

British Dictionary definitions for starkest (2 of 2)



(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)
(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
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