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

In April 2016 doctors at Nottingham's Queen's Medical Center finally suggested taking the drastic step of removing the leg. Mark Cardwell, Fox News, "Woman has leg amputated after infection from shaving cut," 19 July 2018 Somebody’s got to take drastic steps in this day and age. Steve Bousquet And Alex Leary, miamiherald, "Florida Republicans split on detaining children. Some stay with Trump, others object.," 19 June 2018 But unlike many of his peers, Mr. Bonansinga took the view that more moderate minds would prevail and that an Italian government would not take such drastic steps. New York Times, "Betting on Crisis, Hedge Funds Short Italian Bonds," 7 June 2018 China took the most drastic steps, first by banning initial coin offerings—a form of fund-raising involving the issuance of cryptocurrency tokens—and then by banning exchanges outright. David Meyer, Fortune, "Bitcoin Price Sinks Amid a New Federal Probe Into Cryptocurrency Price Manipulation," 24 May 2018 Pruitt had been expected to recommend a less drastic step of providing state assistance to the district, rather than a state takeover. Deborah Yetter, The Courier-Journal, "Former Kentucky education commissioner Stephen Pruitt lands new job," 24 May 2018 As Nyhan argued, drastic steps like Court-packing carry real costs and should not be undertaken lightly. Scott Lemieux, The New Republic, "Democrats: Prepare to Pack the Supreme Court," 10 May 2018 That was why Rose called on NCAA players to take the drastic step of boycotting next month’s NCAA tournament. Andrew Joseph, For The Win, "Jalen Rose says college basketball players should boycott the NCAA tournament," 27 Feb. 2018 But a hard-right faction within the state’s Republican Party has taken a drastic step that could derail him. Benjamin Hart, Daily Intelligencer, "Utah GOP Passes New Rule That Could Eject Romney From Ballot," 26 Feb. 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

12 Dec 2018

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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 \

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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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

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a soft lustrous wool fabric with mohair

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