Definition of severe
1a : strict in judgment, discipline, or governmentb : of a strict or stern bearing or manner : austere
2 : rigorous in restraint, punishment, or requirement : stringent
3 : strongly critical or condemnatory a severe critic
4a : maintaining a scrupulously exacting standard of behavior or self-disciplineb : establishing exacting standards of accuracy and integrity in intellectual processes a severe logician
5 : sober or restrained in decoration or manner : plain a severe dress
6a : causing discomfort or hardship : harsh severe wintersb : very painful or harmful a severe wound
7 : requiring great effort : arduous a severe test
8 : of a great degree severe depression
severityplay \sə-ˈver-ə-tē\ noun
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. 2009
A 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. 2009
Between 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. 2006
As 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.
Recent Examples of severe from the Web
This particular reactor design has never been built on such a scale, and the power plants happen to sit atop the Makran Trench, a major faultline prone to severe earthquakes.
Zahra was a victim of severe domestic policies imposed by ISIS.
The 20,000 or so former N.F.L. players have until Aug. 7 to register for the settlement, which includes a promise by the league to spend hundreds of millions of dollars for players with severe neurological and cognitive problems.
Specifically, it is imagined that even severe and abruptly implemented tax cuts will serve to actually increase government revenue, thanks to the turbo-charging effect on economy growth.
The FHCF was established in 1993 and partially reimburses losses to insurers if damages from a hurricane are severe enough.
Diarrhea and vomiting from withdrawal can make a person dehydrated, and that can lead to severe complications, even death in some cases.
The outside panel was formed in 2012 to review all cases of child deaths or severe injuries where abuse or neglect is suspected.
Please report damage from the severe thunderstorms to NWS Birmingham; @NWSBirmingham -- EMAJeffersonCoAL (@EMAJeffCoAL) July 5, 2017 There have not been any reports of injuries.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'severe.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Origin and Etymology of severe
Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin severus
First Known Use: 1548See Words from the same year
Synonym Discussion of severe
SEVERE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of severe for English Language Learners
: very bad, serious, or unpleasant
: causing a lot of physical pain or suffering
: very harsh
SEVERE Defined for Kids
Definition of severe for Students
Seen and Heard
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