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stern

1
[ sturn ]
/ stɜrn /
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adjective, stern·er, stern·est.
firm, strict, or uncompromising: stern discipline.
hard, harsh, or severe: a stern reprimand.
rigorous or austere; of an unpleasantly serious character: stern times.
grim or forbidding in aspect: a stern face.
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Origin of stern

1
First recorded before 1000; Middle English; Old English styrne

synonym study for stern

1, 2. 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 Stern implies uncompromising, inflexible firmness, and sometimes a hard, forbidding, or withdrawn aspect or nature: a stern parent.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.

OTHER WORDS FROM stern

stern·ly, adverbstern·ness, noun

Other definitions for stern (2 of 4)

stern2
[ sturn ]
/ stɜrn /

noun
the after part of a vessel (often opposed to stem).
the back or rear of anything.
(initial capital letter)Astronomy. the constellation Puppis.
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)

Other definitions for stern (3 of 4)

Stern
[ sturn ]
/ stɜrn /

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

Other definitions for stern (4 of 4)

stern-

variant of sterno- before a vowel: sternite.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2021

How to use stern in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for stern (1 of 3)

stern1
/ (stɜːn) /

adjective
showing uncompromising or inflexible resolve; firm, strict, or authoritarian
lacking leniency or clemency; harsh or severe
relentless; unyieldingthe stern demands of parenthood
having an austere or forbidding appearance or nature

Derived forms of stern

sternly, adverbsternness, noun

Word Origin for stern

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

British Dictionary definitions for stern (2 of 3)

stern2
/ (stɜːn) /

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

Word Origin for stern

C13: from Old Norse stjōrn steering; see steer 1

British Dictionary definitions for stern (3 of 3)

Stern
/ (stɜːn) /

noun
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

Other 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.
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