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 The mayhem, combined with a mutual disdain between the schools’ students, led to three years of drastic change. oregonlive, "2020 edition of Oregon Ducks vs. Oregon State Beavers football game adds another odd chapter to rivalry," 25 Nov. 2020 This is a drastic shift from how her life was before COPD. Alice Oglethorpe, Good Housekeeping, "3 Women on How They Live With COPD," 19 Nov. 2020 Apart from that drastic shift, other changes are more certain. Faimon Roberts, NOLA.com, "What changes to Mardi Gras in Jefferson Parish are on the table? Smaller parades, new date, more," 16 Nov. 2020 Here are some of the scenarios analysts and investors are considering: Optimists say regulators are merely re-asserting their right to oversee internet companies, without trying to initiate drastic change. Bloomberg.com, "Down $290 Billion, China Tech Investors Wargame Worst-Case Scenarios," 11 Nov. 2020 Yet despite the obstacles, the former vice president and senator will pursue a drastic shift in America's economic policy. Star Tribune, "Bidenomics: More stimulus, tougher regulation, and gridlock," 10 Nov. 2020 Yet their more downbeat mood is a drastic shift from just days ago. New York Times, "Treasury Secretary Warren? Progressives Line Up to Press Their Agenda on Biden," 7 Nov. 2020 Television, followed by social media, would build off this drastic shift in a way that forever transformed American politics. Richard Gunderman, The Conversation, "100 years ago, the first commercial radio broadcast announced the results of the 1920 election – politics would never be the same," 30 Oct. 2020 Television, followed by social media, would build off this drastic shift in a way that forever transformed American politics. Richard Gunderman, Quartz, "100 years ago, broadcast media began transforming American politics," 30 Oct. 2020

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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Statistics for drastic

Last Updated

1 Dec 2020

Cite this Entry

“Drastic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drastic. Accessed 5 Dec. 2020.

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More Definitions for drastic


How to pronounce drastic (audio)

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

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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