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

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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

In its four years, the Freedom Caucus has established itself as arguably the most-conservative bloc of Republicans in Congress and a group willing to take drastic action in support of what its members deem most vital. Ronald J. Hansen, azcentral, "Rep. Andy Biggs named new chairman of conservative House Freedom Caucus," 10 Sep. 2019 Moreover, subtle wobbles of only a few miles can have drastic differences both on the impacts received on any land masses and on the storm’s progression in general. Matthew Cappucci, Washington Post, "Tropical Storm Dorian forecast to strengthen, possibly approaching Puerto Rico on Tuesday night as a hurricane," 26 Aug. 2019 There was a drastic difference in exposure among youth from families above and below the federal poverty level, which ranges from an income of $12,490 for individuals to $43,430 for families of eight. Allen Kim, CNN, "Over a third of American kids who don't smoke are exposed to it anyways, study finds. Most are below the poverty line.," 15 Aug. 2019 Many residents say drastic action is needed for the country to maintain its competitiveness amid the demographic swelling. Fortune, "Tiny Luxembourg Is Having a Big Brexit Moment," 10 Aug. 2019 By acting now, when the economy is still relatively healthy, the Fed can avoid taking more drastic action later on. The Economist, "Markets are convinced the Fed will cut interest rates," 30 July 2019 That’s the drastic difference between a pocket created for fashion and one created for function. Kimberly Mas, Vox, "Women’s pockets favor fashion over function — and it’s terrible.," 5 Dec. 2018 City are yet to sign anyone this summer, a drastic difference to last year's acquisitions, but the club are only linked with a few players this time around. SI.com, "Report Claims Jorginho Will Sign 5-Year Contract With Man City Ahead of Official Unveiling Next Week," 23 June 2018 In reality, most games that support Pro enhancements don’t offer a drastic difference in quality when comparing standard and Pro games side-by-side. Hartford Courant, courant.com, "CNET: Great Gear For Your Gamer Dad," 25 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 2019

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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 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 drastically (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of drastic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a powerful medicinal agent especially : a strong purgative

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More from Merriam-Webster on drastic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with drastic

Spanish Central: Translation of drastic

Nglish: Translation of drastic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drastic for Arabic Speakers

Comments on drastic

What made you want to look up drastic? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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