\ ˈstärk How to pronounce stark (audio) \

Definition of stark

 (Entry 1 of 4)

1a : rigid in or as if in death
b : rigidly conforming (as to a pattern or doctrine) : absolute stark discipline
2 archaic : strong, robust
3 : utter, sheer stark nonsense
b(1) : having few or no ornaments : bare a stark white room
(2) : harsh, blunt the stark realities of death
5 : sharply delineated a stark contrast



Definition of stark (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : in a stark manner
2 : to an absolute or complete degree : wholly stark naked stark mad


biographical name (1)
\ ˈshtärk How to pronounce Stark (audio) , ˈstärk How to pronounce Stark (audio) \

Definition of Stark (Entry 3 of 4)

Johannes 1874–1957 German physicist


biographical name (2)
\ ˈstärk How to pronounce Stark (audio) \

Definition of Stark (Entry 4 of 4)

John 1728–1822 American general in Revolution

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Other Words from stark


starkly adverb
starkness noun

Examples of stark in a Sentence

Adjective The room was decorated with stark simplicity. the stark reality of death This tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of drunk driving. There is a stark difference between them. His criticism of the movie stands in stark contrast to the praise it has received from others.
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Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Scholar and activist Paul Ortiz presents a more comprehensive, more proactive history of Black and Latinx communities and leaders, which stands in stark contrast to the typical reactionary narratives often depicted in mainstream history books. Rachel King, Fortune, "10 books on American history that actually reflect the United States," 4 July 2020 Lancaster's video is a stark contrast to the feel-good worker-vignettes that the company has been airing as TV commercials and showcase the curve on Amazon packages that the company calls a smile. Frank Witsil, Detroit Free Press, "Amazon driver quits job on Twitter, abandons package-filled van in Detroit suburb," 1 July 2020 In stark contrast, Trump pushed Republicans this month to pull most of their gathering from Charlotte, North Carolina, so his crowning moment could take place before a boisterous crowd in Jacksonville. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Feeble or cautious? How will voters see Biden’s convention?," 26 June 2020 Under this model, Hong Kong also has its own currency, language, judicial system, identity and culture -- freedoms that stand in stark contrast to China's censorship and authoritarian rule in the mainland. Jessie Yeung, CNN, "China is about to pass a controversial national security law in Hong Kong. Here's what you need to know," 25 June 2020 The moves by the Democrats stand in stark contrast to the Republicans, who shifted their main convention events from Charlotte, North Carolina, to Jacksonville, Florida. Bill Glauber, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Scaled-back Democratic National Convention overhauled as state delegates no longer traveling to Milwaukee, event moved out of Fiserv Forum," 25 June 2020 Such elite enclaves lie in stark contrast to the pro-poor focus of the previous administration. Biruk Terrefe, Quartz Africa, "Megaprojects in Addis Ababa raise questions about Ethiopia’s spatial justice and urban design," 25 June 2020 But the willingness to retighten restrictions amid growing public health concerns stands in stark contrast to the U.S.' approach to a fresh wave of new cases. Fox News, "Countries across world reimpose restrictions due to coronavirus spikes as US remains adamant about avoiding 2nd lockdown," 24 June 2020 Skinner's words came in stark contrast to the widespread support Wallace received from the NASCAR community in the wake of Sunday's incident. Steve Gardner, USA TODAY, "Former NASCAR driver's son apologizes for cheering noose in Bubba Wallace's garage," 23 June 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb But the lack of health insurance, sick pay and other protections for many Americans, including Uber contractors, is stark now. Shira Ovide, New York Times, "The iPad is the gadget of the pandemic.," 11 Apr. 2020 The divide is stark between the two categories of states. Shawn Tully, Fortune, "Pandemic economics: The U.S. is learning why limiting hospital beds carries a steep cost," 24 Apr. 2020 The contrast is most stark between California and New York., "Is Social Distancing Working? U.S. States See Varied Results," 1 Apr. 2020 The implications are undeniably stark: Informal caregivers will no doubt continue to absorb the majority of the strain. Grace Hatton, STAT, "Lost, and sometimes found, in the emergency department at Christmas," 24 Dec. 2019 But the climactic sequence of Midsommar features one of the last surviving Americans running stark naked across the noonday greensward with nobody obviously chasing him. Ross Douthat, National Review, "Midsommar Casts a Transfixing Scandinavian Spell," 25 July 2019 Around the turn of the last century, our place, which is now surrounded by woods, sat stark on a bald hilltop with nary a tree in sight. Vogue, "3 Writers On Living Sustainably In 2018," 21 June 2018 Kruger’s stark, carefully laid out design cleverly turns the façade of an innocuous strip-building into the memory of a Greek temple, the classical style in which art museums were once conventionally built. Christopher Knight,, "Artist Barbara Kruger turns a bland building into a screaming statement. Time to listen up," 14 June 2018 Joslyn Gray is the author of the humor blog stark. raving. Joslyn Gray, Redbook, "Parental Peer Pressure: A Game I Cannot Win," 12 Mar. 2012

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stark.' 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 stark


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stark


Middle English, stiff, strong, from Old English stearc; akin to Old High German starc strong, Lithuanian starinti to stiffen — more at stare

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Time Traveler for stark

Time Traveler

The first known use of stark was before the 12th century

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Statistics for stark

Last Updated

7 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Stark.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Jul. 2020.

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More Definitions for stark


How to pronounce Stark (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of stark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: having a very plain and often cold or empty appearance
: unpleasant and difficult to accept or experience
: very obvious : very plain and easily seen



English Language Learners Definition of stark (Entry 2 of 2)

: completely or fully


\ ˈstärk How to pronounce stark (audio) \
starker; starkest

Kids Definition of stark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : barren sense 2, desolate a stark landscape
2 : clear and harsh She faced the stark reality of poverty.
3 : very obvious The differences were stark.



Kids Definition of stark (Entry 2 of 2)

: completely stark naked

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More from Merriam-Webster on stark

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stark

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stark

Spanish Central: Translation of stark

Nglish: Translation of stark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stark for Arabic Speakers

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