dras·tic | \ˈdra-stik \

Definition of drastic 

1 : acting rapidly or violently a drastic purgative

2 : extreme in effect or action : severe drastic measures made drastic changes

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Other Words from drastic

drastically \ˈdra-sti-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

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

The pressure on Kelly was easing, lessening the urgency for drastic action. Nick Miroff, Anchorage Daily News, "Obama's Cabinet shelved deterrent, but Trump's was willing to try it," 20 June 2018 The pressure on Kelly was easing, lessening the urgency for drastic action. Nick Miroff, Washington Post, "Trump didn’t invent family separation, but his administration was willing to try it," 19 June 2018 No other administration, in fact, has chosen to take such drastic action. Dahleen Glanton, chicagotribune.com, "Trump and Sessions are cut from the same bigoted cloth," 18 June 2018 Around the country, some local governments are taking drastic actions against home-share operators. David Lyons, Sun-Sentinel.com, "Home-sharing option is a growing cash cow for multi-unit developers, owners," 15 June 2018 Sedan sales are down for most automakers, and Ford has even taken the drastic step of abandoning it altogether in the very near future. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "The 2018 Honda Accord proves there’s still life in the family sedan," 15 June 2018 The premium increases forced others in the Charlottesville Facebook group to take drastic action. NBC News, "Democrats' October 'surprise' in the midterms? Hint: It has to do with health care costs," 10 June 2018 The annoying flickering has been well-documented on Microsoft’s support forums, with some users taking drastic steps like putting their Surface Pro 4 in a freezer to temporarily fix the issue. Chris Welch, The Verge, "Microsoft to replace Surface Pro 4 tablets affected by screen flickering," 11 May 2018 Some drastic action was kind of needed to wake people up to what was going on. Christina Tkacik, baltimoresun.com, "Fifty years later, Catonsville Nine draft protest inspires activists, angers opponents," 9 May 2018

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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Statistics for drastic

Last Updated

3 Oct 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for drastic

The first known use of drastic was circa 1691

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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 \

Kids Definition of drastic

: severe in effect : harsh a drastic change

Other Words from drastic

drastically \-sti-kə-lē \ adverb


dras·tic | \ˈdras-tik \

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 \ adverb



Medical Definition of drastic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a powerful medicinal agent especially : a strong purgative

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Comments on drastic

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