stern

1
[sturn]
See more synonyms for stern on Thesaurus.com
adjective, stern·er, stern·est.
  1. firm, strict, or uncompromising: stern discipline.
  2. hard, harsh, or severe: a stern reprimand.
  3. rigorous or austere; of an unpleasantly serious character: stern times.
  4. grim or forbidding in aspect: a stern face.

Origin of stern

1
before 1000; Middle English; Old English styrne
Related formsstern·ly, adverbstern·ness, noun

Synonyms for stern

See more synonyms for on Thesaurus.com
1, 2. adamant, unrelenting, unsympathetic, cruel, unfeeling. Stern, severe, harsh agree in referring to methods, aspects, manners, or facial expressions. Stern implies uncompromising, inflexible firmness, and sometimes a hard, forbidding, or withdrawn aspect or nature: a stern parent. Severe implies strictness, lack of sympathy, and a tendency to impose a hard discipline on others: a severe judge. Harsh suggests a great severity and roughness, and cruel, unfeeling treatment of others: a harsh critic.

Antonyms for stern

stern

2
[sturn]
noun
  1. the after part of a vessel (often opposed to stem).
  2. the back or rear of anything.
  3. (initial capital letter) Astronomy. the constellation Puppis.
  4. Fox Hunting. the tail of a hound.

Origin of stern

2
1250–1300; Middle English sterne, probably < Old Norse stjōrn steering (done aft; see sternpost)

Stern

[sturn]
noun
  1. Isaac,1920–2001, U.S. violinist, born in Russia.
  2. Otto,1888–1969, U.S. physicist, born in Germany: Nobel prize 1943.

stern-

  1. variant of sterno- before a vowel: sternite.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018


Examples from the Web for stern

Contemporary Examples of stern

Historical Examples of stern

  • Stern displeasure was visible in the countenance of the great sculptor.

    Philothea

    Lydia Maria Child

  • Close by the stern stood Black Simon with the pennon of the house of Loring.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • Yet, measured according to the stern standards of adversity, Mary was fortunate.

    Within the Law

    Marvin Dana

  • The Castle of Villefranche was harsh and stern as its master.

    The White Company

    Arthur Conan Doyle

  • The veteran at the stern we could not see, but doubtless his skill was equally remarkable.

    The Roof of France

    Matilda Betham-Edwards


British Dictionary definitions for stern

stern

1
adjective
  1. showing uncompromising or inflexible resolve; firm, strict, or authoritarian
  2. lacking leniency or clemency; harsh or severe
  3. relentless; unyieldingthe stern demands of parenthood
  4. having an austere or forbidding appearance or nature
Derived Formssternly, adverbsternness, noun

Word Origin for stern

Old English styrne; related to Old High German stornēn to alarm, Latin sternāx stubborn, Greek stereos hard

stern

2
noun
  1. the rear or after part of a vessel, opposite the bow or stem
  2. the rear part of any object
  3. the tail of certain breeds of dog, such as the foxhound or beagle
adjective
  1. relating to or located at the stern

Word Origin for stern

C13: from Old Norse stjōrn steering; see steer 1

Stern

noun
  1. Isaac. 1920–2001, US concert violinist, born in (what is now) Ukraine
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 stern
adj.

Old English styrne "severe, strict," from Proto-Germanic *sternijaz (cf. Middle High German sterre, German starr "stiff," störrig "obstinate;" Gothic andstaurran "to be stiff;" Old Norse stara; Old English starian "to look or gaze upon"), from PIE root *ster-, *star- "be rigid" (see sterile).

n.

c.1300, "hind part of a ship, steering gear of a ship," probably from Old Norse stjorn "a steering," related to styra "to guide" (see steer (v.)). Or the word may come from Old Frisian stiarne "rudder," which is also related to steer (v.).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Idioms and Phrases with stern

stern

see from soup to nuts (stem to stern).

The American Heritage® Idioms Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company.