severe implies standards enforced without indulgence or laxity and may suggest harshness.
severe military discipline
stern stresses inflexibility and inexorability of temper or character.
stern arbiters of public morality
austere stresses absence of warmth, color, or feeling and may apply to rigorous restraint, simplicity, or self-denial.
living an austere life in the country
ascetic implies abstention from pleasure and comfort or self-indulgence as spiritual discipline.
the ascetic life of the monks
Examples of severe in a Sentence
On Feb. 25 regulators laid out details on how they will run the "stress tests" that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has promised on the biggest banks. Now those tests, designed to judge whether the banks have the capital to keep lending and absorb losses in a severe recession, face an exam of their own.—Jane Sasseen et al., Business Week, 9 Mar. 2009A study in February in the journal Lancet, for instance, compared treatments for severe ankle sprains, concluding that a below-the-knee cast is superior to a tubular compression bandage.—Sharon Begley, Newsweek, 9 Mar. 2009Between 2000 and 2004 the number of Americans covered by Medicaid rose by a remarkable eight million. Over the same period the ranks of the uninsured rose by six million. So without the growth of Medicaid, the uninsured population would have exploded, and we'd be facing a severe crisis in medical care.—Paul Krugman et al., New York Review of Books, 23 Mar. 2006As several economists—most notably Jeffrey Williamson, of Harvard University—have written recently, international trade increased dramatically between 1850 and the First World War. Williamson goes on to point out that one consequence of this earlier period of globalization was that governments retreated into policies of severe trade and immigration restrictions.—Nicholas Lemann, New Yorker, 10 May 1999
The storm caused severe damage to the roof.
The patient is in severe pain.
children with severe learning disabilities
In the most severe cases, the disease can lead to blindness.
He suffered a severe head injury.
He faces severe penalties for his actions.
The war was a severe test of his leadership. See More
Recent Examples on the WebChildren under age five, the elderly and those with weakened immune systems are more at risk of developing severe illnesses that require medical care or hospitalization.—Elizabeth Napolitano, CBS News, 1 Dec. 2023 The stress of the situation led to his developing a severe gastrointestinal illness.—Billboard China, Billboard, 1 Dec. 2023 Older adults over the age of 60 are also eligible for an RSV vaccine to protect against severe illness and death.—Youri Benadjaoud, ABC News, 30 Nov. 2023 Born on Christmas Day, 1957, in the English county of Kent, Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan was raised by his mother and father, both of whom were Irish immigrants at a time of severe tension between the two countries.—Nina Corcoran, Pitchfork, 30 Nov. 2023 San Diego also is one of a handful of counties participating in a pilot project for CARE Court, a new government law that allows loved ones, service providers and others to petition the court for intervention with residents diagnosed with severe mental illnesses.—Paul Sisson, San Diego Union-Tribune, 29 Nov. 2023 Nora Super, executive director of the 2015 White House Conference on Aging and former director of the Milken Institute’s Center for the Future of Aging, was seeking contributions after suffering a severe spinal cord injury.—Judith Graham, Fortune Well, 28 Nov. 2023 Watts sustained a fractured skull and severe traumatic brain injury, which left him permanently impaired and disabled, according to the HSE.—Christi Carras, Los Angeles Times, 27 Nov. 2023 If the collision is severe enough, air bags might deploy, too.—WIRED, 19 Nov. 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'severe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin severus