stern

adjective
\ ˈstərn How to pronounce stern (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Stern (audio) \

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 How to pronounce Stern (audio) \ 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 The county judge had a stern warning for the woman who went to the San Antonio concert. Mark Dunphy, ExpressNews.com, "'This is how it’s spreading': Val Verde official says woman broke quarantine for San Antonio concert," 14 Jan. 2021 The Federal Aviation Administration has issued a stern warning to the flying public following President Donald Trump supporters' Jan. 6 riots at the U.S. Capitol and incidents on multiple airlines on the way to and from Washington, D.C. Jayme Deerwester, USA TODAY, "FAA threatens unruly fliers with stiff fines, jail time; calls escalate to add Capitol rioters to no-fly list," 11 Jan. 2021 Despite increasingly stern warnings from public officials and health experts to stay home, some shoppers were eager to have some semblance of normalcy. Chase Difeliciantonio, SFChronicle.com, "Last-minute Bay Area holiday shoppers face coronavirus risks," 23 Dec. 2020 The memo included stern warnings that violations that cause disruptions to the game schedule can result in fines, suspensions, game forfeitures and even loss of draft picks. Brad Townsend, Dallas News, "Mavericks still learning to make adjustments to new NBA protocols with first five-on-five practice," 6 Dec. 2020 And if history is any indication, the response would be even more stern to the Democratic president’s nominations for lifetime positions on the federal bench. Bob Egelko, SFChronicle.com, "Biden, as president, could face strong opposition to judicial appointments from a GOP Senate," 9 Nov. 2020 The Italianate Victorian, three-story buff-color brick and limestone building had a stern and manly vibe, with its flat roof ornamented with fortress-like crenelations. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "Grand staircase remembered from childhood not likely at San Antonio’s business-oriented Continental hotel," 7 Nov. 2020 Watching the president’s arrival on Saturday in Butler from her porch just beyond the airport, Nadine Schoor, 63, compared his leadership of the country to that of a stern but all-knowing father. Shane Goldmacher, New York Times, "In ‘Knife’s Edge’ Pennsylvania, Trump’s Fortunes Rely on His Rural Base," 3 Nov. 2020 Hernandez added that Kang offered a nice balance alongside Kim, who was known as being a stern and serious head coach. Sean Collins, Dallas News, "Dallas Fuel mutually parts ways with assistant coach ‘Vol’Jin’," 1 Oct. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun On that fateful Sunday, Conter, a 20-year-old quartermaster third class was standing in the stern of the ship when a Japanese bomb penetrated the Arizona’s forward turrets, creating a large explosion. Yael Halon, Fox News, "'They were burned pretty badly:' Pearl Harbor survivor aboard USS Arizona remembers attack 79 years later," 8 Dec. 2020 Sometimes the sea lions, which can grow to be 7 feet long and up to 800 pounds, will climb onto the low steps at the stern of many pleasure boats and damage the steps or the boats. Phil Diehl, San Diego Union-Tribune, "In Oceanside, the sea lions are winning," 2 Dec. 2020 Next year, that plinth is to become the base of a stern-looking, larger-than-life bronze monument to Grantham’s most famous daughter: Margaret Thatcher. Alex Marshall, New York Times, "Is Margaret Thatcher’s Hometown Ready to Put Her on a Pedestal?," 23 Nov. 2020 Chip Keown leans over the charter’s stern in anticipation, his stomach grumbling from a morning marathon of nautical partying. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, "Gator bites and bikinis: Jay’s Sandbar BBQ feeds hungry boaters aboard Fort Lauderdale’s only floating restaurant," 14 Oct. 2020 While the Parklands of Floyds Fork is a gem from stem to stern, the Moss Gibbs Woodland Garden in Broad Run Park is my favorite. Paul Cappiello, The Courier-Journal, "Listen, 2020 is the worst. Here's where to enjoy some trees (and other nature) in Louisville," 6 June 2016 When the sandbar’s lunch rush hits at 2 p.m. Saturday, Lycke is a firecracker of energy, ping-ponging from aft to stern, reaching into chest freezers for clams, shoving pork shoulder into a smoker, and dropping gator meat into an eight-gallon fryer. Phillip Valys, sun-sentinel.com, "Gator bites and bikinis: Jay’s Sandbar BBQ feeds hungry boaters aboard Fort Lauderdale’s only floating restaurant," 14 Oct. 2020 Later, his colleagues found his shoes at the stern of the ship. Choe Sang-hun, New York Times, "North Korea Accused of Shooting and Burning South Korean Defector," 24 Sep. 2020 Although firefighters quelled the blaze, the medium-size pleasure-craft was heavily damaged, and partially sank at its stern, according to the fire department. Washington Post, "Boat burns in Potomac, occupants are evacuated, D.C.fire department says," 21 Sep. 2020

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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Time Traveler for stern

Time Traveler

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

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Statistics for stern

Last Updated

23 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stern. Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

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More Definitions for stern

stern

adjective
How to pronounce Stern (audio)

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 How to pronounce stern (audio) \
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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Comments on stern

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