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 sternness (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 boat approached the capsule stern-first, backing up to get closer. Joe Pappalardo, Popular Mechanics, "How It Works: SpaceX Dragon Capsule Splashdown and Recovery," 8 Mar. 2019 Playing in Afghanistan’s adopted home — India — will pose a stern challenge to the Ireland batsmen, with the wickets likely to suit the Afghan spinners. Rizwan Ali, The Seattle Times, "Afghanistan set to “host” 1st home test in India vs Ireland," 19 Feb. 2019 And in another photo, Olivia Colman's Queen stands beside her husband Prince Philip, who's being played by Outlander's Tobias Menzies, with both looking a little stern. Amy Mackelden, Harper's BAZAAR, "New The Crown Season 3 Photos Show Princess Margaret & Lord Snowden's Incredible Chemistry," 23 Dec. 2018 The hardest part was following the strict protocol of being a stern Swiss bureaucrat while asking such awkward questions. Vogue, "Inside Frieze London With Elisabeth von Thurn und Taxis," 9 Oct. 2018 Fact is, Warren comes off as stern, abrasive and unfriendly. James Freeman, WSJ, "Gender, Likability and Opportunity," 7 Jan. 2019 An officer with animal services told the news outlet the cats have been found cut open from their stern to genitals with their spines removed. Nicole Darrah, Fox News, "Serial cat killer? 7 feline deaths in Washington may be linked, investigators say," 6 Aug. 2018 On a two-sail boat like this one (called a sloop), the emphasis is on the mainsail (B), the sail nearer the stern (H), which is the rearmost or aft part of the boat. Popular Mechanics, "The Beginner's Guide To Sailing," 18 May 2018 What’s more, Trump has noted that Khashoggi was a US resident, but not a citizen, suggesting that his death doesn’t merit a stern response from America. Alex Ward, Vox, "After weeks of lying, Saudi Arabia just admitted Jamal Khashoggi is dead," 20 Oct. 2018

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The stern was bouncing off the mud and sand on the bay’s floor. Earl Swift, Outside Online, "The Incredible True Story of the Henrietta C.," 20 June 2018 The log was pinned against the keel and hanging off the stern of the boat. Alexa Philippou, The Seattle Times, "Sail like a girl: How an all-female team made history and won the 750-mile Race to Alaska," 14 July 2018 You’ve just got to stay on-throttle with your docking maneuvers—go in at an angle with confidence, bang reverse and crank the wheel to bring the stern in. Ezra Dyer, Popular Mechanics, "Testing the Yamaha 210 FSH: The Boat That Blew Up the Formula," 31 Aug. 2018 Reports indicate the captain of the ship deliberately ran it aground in order to save it, and the ship is currently at a roughly 20 degree angle, with the stern of the ship, particularly the helicopter flight deck, underwater. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "Norwegian Frigate Intentionally Run Aground After Collision," 8 Nov. 2018 In a statement, salvage company Shinil Group confirmed that the stern of the vessel, the Dmitry Donskoi, had been discovered off South Korea’s Ulleungdo Island. James Rogers, Fox News, "Sunken Imperial Russian warship may contain $130 billion in gold," 19 July 2018 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

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

14 Mar 2019

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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 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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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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