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 For the Coles of the world, there almost has to be a father, or at least a father figure, providing stern guidance, because mothers do not wield the same level of authority, nor provide the necessary masculine role model. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Black Fathers Matter," 27 Apr. 2021 James was widely criticized for his tweets, including stern pushback from sports journalist Jason Whitlock and former President Donald Trump. Andrew Mark Miller, Washington Examiner, "Marcellus Wiley slams LeBron James over deleted tweet about Columbus police officer: 'You can't be that irresponsible'," 23 Apr. 2021 Still, Cheney’s willingness to speak in such stern terms to Trump’s face contrasted sharply with the deference most of her colleagues showed to him. New York Times, "Liz Cheney vs. MAGA," 22 Apr. 2021 Phoenix survived a stern 38-point, 17-rebound effort from Joel Embiid, who nearly hit a one-handed heave from 67 feet out after Chris Paul missed the second free throw with 0.8 seconds left that would've forced overtime. Duane Rankin, The Arizona Republic, "Suns survive Embiid heave in three-point win over Sixers," 21 Apr. 2021 Because the boys had been forbidden to be up on that scrubby hillside, Graham can’t tell his stern CIA agent dad about the murder for fear of being grounded. Washington Post, "Five great new mysteries and thrillers to look forward to this spring," 18 Apr. 2021 Someone built the fences that demarcate the stern limits on the animals’ separate worlds. K. Austin Collins, Rolling Stone, "‘Gunda’: An Intimate Portrait of a Sow’s Life," 17 Apr. 2021 There is a need for a more audacious agenda and more stern stewardship of ambitions. Frank Van Gansbeke, Forbes, "Planetary Emergency, Central Banks And The Financial System (1/2)," 17 Apr. 2021 Treat this character with a stern kindness, with a reproving warmth. James Parker, The Atlantic, "An Ode to the Left Hand," 17 Apr. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun Next comes a compartment containing the second set of storage batteries, then the engine room and workshop, and finally the compartment at the stern containing the propelling and steering machinery. Popular Mechanics Editors, Popular Mechanics, "War Under the Sea: PM at the Beginning of Submarine Warfare," 8 Apr. 2021 At the stern, the helm station and large sofa are for both driving and watching the world go by, ever-so-slowly. Howard Walker, Robb Report, "Boat of the Week: The World’s First Luxury Superyacht Barge Lets You Cruise Canals in Style," 2 Apr. 2021 The Suez Canal Authority said that the stern, the back of the vessel, was now 300 feet from shore. Chris Smith, BGR, "Ever Given partially refloated, but Suez Canal remains blocked," 29 Mar. 2021 The stern, or the back of the ship, was clearly free from the land early Monday. BostonGlobe.com, "Salvage crews free giant container ship in Suez Canal after days of struggle," 29 Mar. 2021 For the first time in five days, the stern was loose. David Clark Scott, The Christian Science Monitor, "Monday Sunrise Briefing: Is Suez Canal megaship a trend too far?," 29 Mar. 2021 On Monday morning, an Associated Press journalist could see that the ship’s position had distinctly changed — where previously only the ship’s stern was visible, the ship’s side could now be seen. Isabel Debre And Samy Magdy, chicagotribune.com, "Ship stuck in Suez Canal ‘partially refloated,’ but still blocking traffic in the crucial waterway," 29 Mar. 2021 The ship's technical manager, Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement (BSM), said Saturday that the ship’s rudder was released from sediment at the stern of the ship the day before. NBC News, "Suez Canal: Containers could be taken off from Ever Given, officials say as salvage efforts continue," 28 Mar. 2021 Everyone can dine together at an open-air table at the stern, then watch movies in the saloon. Fran Golden, Condé Nast Traveler, "The Best Private Yacht Charters for Small Groups," 17 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

29 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Stern.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/stern. Accessed 11 May. 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

Comments on stern

What made you want to look up stern? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

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