dras·​tic | \ ˈdra-stik How to pronounce drastic (audio) \

Definition of drastic

1 : acting rapidly or violently a drastic purgative
2 : extreme in effect or action : severe drastic measures made drastic changes

Examples of drastic in a Sentence

The situation calls for drastic measures. Maybe we should try something less drastic first.
Recent Examples on the Web Dunn noted that the shortage could result in a drastic undercount of new COVID-19 cases. Scott D. Pierce, The Salt Lake Tribune, 18 Jan. 2022 Quarterback Patrick Mahomes has been exceptional as usual, but the Chiefs’ turnaround coincides with a drastic improvement on defense. C.j. Doon, baltimoresun.com, 18 Jan. 2022 His effort, defensively and rebounding, was a drastic improvement. Adam Baum, The Enquirer, 16 Jan. 2022 Lewis said that as the waves of COVID-19 ebb and flow, so does the impact on his businesses, with some experiencing drastic reductions in the number of customers as people choose to stay home rather than go out to eat. Emily Goodykoontz, Anchorage Daily News, 16 Jan. 2022 Of course, that drastic reduction in ships on the sea may not happen as McKibben envisions; after all, solar panels and wind turbines will need to be transported around the world as well. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, 14 Jan. 2022 Educators around the state report more absences and open classrooms forcing schools to take drastic steps, such as moving kids without a teacher into the gym for the week, to keep their doors open. Arika Herron, The Indianapolis Star, 13 Jan. 2022 The iPhone 13 has a smaller notch, but rumors point to a far more drastic shift in 2022. Jacob Siegal, BGR, 11 Jan. 2022 The protests that broke out in early January in Central Asia’s largest economy were initially directed against a drastic fuel-price hike, before drawing in people with grievances against Kazakhstan’s sclerotic and autocratic political system. Washington Post, 11 Jan. 2022

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'drastic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of drastic

circa 1691, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for drastic

Greek drastikos, from dran to do

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Time Traveler for drastic

Time Traveler

The first known use of drastic was circa 1691

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Last Updated

24 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Drastic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drastic. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for drastic



English Language Learners Definition of drastic

: extreme in effect or action : severe or serious


dras·​tic | \ ˈdra-stik How to pronounce drastic (audio) \

Kids Definition of drastic

: severe in effect : harsh a drastic change

Other Words from drastic

drastically \ -​sti-​kə-​lē \ adverb


dras·​tic | \ ˈdras-tik How to pronounce drastic (audio) \

Medical Definition of drastic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: acting rapidly or violently used chiefly of purgatives

Other Words from drastic

drastically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce drastic (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of drastic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a powerful medicinal agent especially : a strong purgative

More from Merriam-Webster on drastic

Nglish: Translation of drastic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drastic for Arabic Speakers


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