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 A minute later, its stern, drifting clockwise, connected with the west bank. Brendan Crowley, Popular Mechanics, "Here’s the Minute-by-Minute Breakdown of the Ever Given’s Crash," 9 Apr. 2021 Its bow became jammed in the canal's sandy eastern wall, with its stern lodged against its western wall. NBC News, "Inside the Ever Given's Suez Canal rescue: How tides, tugboats helped free the big ship," 2 Apr. 2021 Ever Given’s crew of 25 Indian sailors lowered ropes from the stern, one for each tug, and the tug crews attached their heavier cables. Washington Post, "Inside the 144-hour scramble to free the giant ship stuck in the Suez Canal," 31 Mar. 2021 Richardson stepped into the room and quieted all the children by imposing some stern, rockbound discipline. Larry Millett, Star Tribune, "Why 'the prettiest church in Minneapolis' fell to the wrecking ball," 5 Mar. 2021 There’s a good bit of grassy buffer between the water and the sidewalk, along with rope dividers and stern warnings about native Florida wildlife, squelching any urge to jump in. Dewayne Bevil, orlandosentinel.com, "Disney: New walkway connects Magic Kingdom, Grand Floridian," 5 Mar. 2021 That drew stern warnings from Republicans, who have already closed ranks against Democrats’ COVID-19 relief bill. Kevin Freking, Chron, "Biden team readies wider economic package after virus relief," 28 Feb. 2021 Around the kitchen table, over a dinner of meatloaf and mashed potatoes, the normally all-smiles Chafin delivered a stern warning. Washington Post, "In this rural Trump country, covid vaccine is an easy sell — for now," 18 Mar. 2021 House Democratic Caucus Chair Hakeem Jeffries had a stern warning for some members of Congress who could be further fanning the flames with racist rhetoric. Mariam Khan, ABC News, "Democrats respond forcefully to Atlanta spa shootings that killed women of Asian descent," 17 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun For more than half an hour, the ship veered from side to side, according to the satellite tracking, narrowly missing the banks until its stern seemed to brush the left-hand shore. Washington Post, "Inside the 144-hour scramble to free the giant ship stuck in the Suez Canal," 31 Mar. 2021 Working day and night as the tugboats pulled on the ship, the dredgers cleared away about 30,000 cubic meters of sand and mud from around the ship’s bow and stern, Boskalis said. New York Times, "Ship Is Freed After a Costly Lesson in the Vulnerabilities of Sea Trade," 29 Mar. 2021 With the ship beached at both ends, the bow and stern carried the vessel’s entire weight, and the middle section began to sag, which created what experts described as micro-cracks in the ship’s hull. Los Angeles Times, "Ship stuck in Suez Canal is freed, allowing vital waterway to reopen," 28 Mar. 2021 With the ship sagging in the middle, its bow and stern both caught in positions for which it was not designed, the hull is vulnerable to stress and cracks, both experts said. BostonGlobe.com, "At the Suez, hoping a rising tide will lift a boat four football fields long," 27 Mar. 2021 Ever Given's bow touching the eastern wall, while its stern appeared lodged against the western wall. Samy Magdy, USA TODAY, "Day 3 and the Suez Canal remains blocked; at least 237 ships wait for canal to be cleared," 26 Mar. 2021 Ever Given’s bow touching the eastern wall, while its stern appeared lodged against the western wall. Samy Magdy, chicagotribune.com, "Maritime traffic jam grows to more than 200 vessels outside blocked Suez Canal," 26 Mar. 2021 The Ever Given, a 400-meter (1,312 foot) container ship, Tuesday became stuck in the canal sideways, with its bow wedged in one bank and its stern nearly touching the other, according to ship operators and images posted on social media. Jared Malsin, WSJ, "Suez Canal Is Blocked by Container Ship Causing Huge Traffic Jam," 24 Mar. 2021 Slowly, but yes, the Ever Given’s stern seemed to be creeping toward the deeper water. Washington Post, "Inside the 144-hour scramble to free the giant ship stuck in the Suez Canal," 31 Mar. 2021

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

17 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stern. Accessed 21 Apr. 2021.

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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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Comments on stern

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