stern

adjective
\ˈstərn \

Definition of stern 

(Entry 1 of 4)

1a : having a definite hardness or severity of nature or manner : austere

b : expressive of severe displeasure : harsh

2 : forbidding or gloomy in appearance

3 : inexorable stern necessity

4 : sturdy, stout a stern resolve

stern

noun

Definition of stern (Entry 2 of 4)

1 : the rear end of a boat

2 : a hinder or rear part : the last or latter part

Stern

biographical name (1)
\ˈstərn \

Definition of Stern (Entry 3 of 4)

Isaac 1920–2001 American (Russian-born) violinist

Stern

biographical name (2)

Definition of Stern (Entry 4 of 4)

Otto 1888–1969 American (German-born) physicist

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Other Words from stern

Adjective

sternly adverb
sternness \ˈstərn-​nəs \ noun

Choose the Right Synonym for stern

Adjective

severe, stern, austere, ascetic mean given to or marked by strict discipline and firm restraint. 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 stern in a Sentence

Adjective

He gave me a stern look. the army post's stern commander always had the utmost respect of those who served under him

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In an adorable video published by Netflix, Melissa Joan Hart was joined by Nate Richert, who played the lovable Harvey Kinkle; Caroline Rhea, who played wacky Aunt Hilda; and Beth Broderick, who played stern Aunt Zelda. Sarah Grace Hart, Teen Vogue, ""Sabrina the Teenage Witch" Cast Wishes "Chilling Adventures of Sabrina" Cast Good Luck," 26 Oct. 2018 That theory is set to face a stern test now, especially if China’s overheated property market cools. Jacky Wong, WSJ, "This Chinese Bond Deal Should Give Investors the Shivers," 31 Oct. 2018 Inbound interest was so high at one point that the company issued a stern warning to dealmakers to back off from the company and its shareholders. Theodore Schleifer, Recode, "Coinbase, the startup at the core of the crypto craze, is now considered an $8 billion company," 2 Oct. 2018 Many arms experts see the April 14 airstrikes as a stern rebuke to Russia as well as Syria. Theo Emery, Time, "The North Korea Summit Is Trump's Chance to Pressure Syria About Its Weapons, Too," 4 June 2018 In a stern television lecture, the tall, imposing war hero told his people to get back to work. George Melloan, WSJ, "The Day la Terre Stood Still," 14 May 2018 Rather, the report examines the investigation into Hillary Clinton's email server, offering a stern rebuke for the behavior of some Bureau officials, including then-director James Comey and agents Peter Strzok and Lisa Page. CBS News, "Trump makes misleading claims about Crimea, FBI, North Korea," 15 June 2018 Also, liberals visualized a God who looked more loving and friendly, whereas conservatives saw a stern daddy. Jaya Saxena, GQ, "Study Finds That Americans Think God Looks Like This Guy," 12 June 2018 The president remained stern faced throughout, even when waving to clapping supporters. New York Times, "Erdogan Begins New Term and Names His Son-in-Law Finance Minister," 9 July 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In addition to the stern, 203 mm cannons, 152 mm long-distance guns, a number of machine guns, anchors, two stacks, three masts, wooden decks and armor are also visible on the wreck. James Rogers, Fox News, "Sunken Imperial Russian warship may contain $130 billion in gold," 19 July 2018 As for the Abner Read itself, it was towed back to Bremerton, Washington where a new stern was attached. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "U.S. Navy Wreckage from WWII Discovered Off Coast of Alaska," 17 Aug. 2018 Within months, the stern was repaired and the Abner Read rejoined the war. James Rogers, Fox News, "Stern of US WW II destroyer discovered near remote Alaskan island: Survivor recounts harrowing day," 16 Aug. 2018 Sitting in folding chairs near the stern, his wife, Nina, and one of their daughters, Mary, peered at the water, looking for the slightest blip in the net — a sign that a fish had been snarled. Author: John Eligon, Anchorage Daily News, "A Supreme Court victory for a tribe that's lost its salmon," 12 June 2018 Sitting in folding chairs near the stern, his wife, Nina, and one of their daughters, Mary, peered at the water, looking for the slightest blip in the net — a sign that a fish had been snarled. Author: John Eligon, Anchorage Daily News, "A Supreme Court victory for a tribe that's lost its salmon," 12 June 2018 Sitting in folding chairs near the stern, his wife, Nina, and one of their daughters, Mary, peered at the water, looking for the slightest blip in the net — a sign that a fish had been snarled. Author: John Eligon, Anchorage Daily News, "A Supreme Court victory for a tribe that's lost its salmon," 12 June 2018 Ed shouted from the stern: Jason, you better holler for somebody. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 Sitting in folding chairs near the stern, his wife, Nina, and one of their daughters, Mary, peered at the water, looking for the slightest blip in the net — a sign that a fish had been snarled. Author: John Eligon, Anchorage Daily News, "A Supreme Court victory for a tribe that's lost its salmon," 12 June 2018

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

Adjective

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

Noun

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stern

Adjective

Middle English sterne, from Old English styrne; akin to Old English starian to stare — more at stare

Noun

Middle English, rudder, probably of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse stjōrn steering, rudder; akin to Old English stīeran to steer — more at steer

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Statistics for stern

Last Updated

5 Dec 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for stern

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

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More Definitions for stern

stern

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of stern

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: very serious especially in an unfriendly way

: expressing strong disapproval or criticism

: not likely to change or become weaker

stern

noun

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

: the back part of a boat or ship

stern

adjective
\ˈstərn \
sterner; sternest

Kids Definition of stern

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : hard and severe in nature or manner : very strict and serious a stern judge a stern warning

2 : showing severe displeasure or disapproval The elder's stern expression softened.— Brian Jacques, Redwall

3 : firm and not changeable She showed stern determination to succeed.

Other Words from stern

sternly adverb speak sternly

stern

noun

Kids Definition of stern (Entry 2 of 2)

: the rear end of a boat

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More from Merriam-Webster on stern

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with stern

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for stern

Spanish Central: Translation of stern

Nglish: Translation of stern for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stern for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about stern

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