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

As in Sweden, the crusade is cheered on by feminists and Christians with stern moral views. The Economist, "The idea of criminalising prostitutes’ clients is spreading," 15 June 2019 She was known as a stern taskmaster who delivered love and learning to her students, many of whom tracked her down for years to deliver tales of their success in life. courant.com, "Ann Marie Norton," 12 June 2019 Pulling from the bow and stern at once, the tugs maneuvered the Magestic downriver like a log in a stream as the skippers communicated over two-way radios. Rowan Moore Gerety, Harper's magazine, "Downstream," 10 June 2019 Burkman eventually canceled the event after receiving a stern letter of disapproval from none other than McGahn. The Washington Post, The Mercury News, "They keep trying to smear Democrats, and keep failing," 4 June 2019 Is our whole system rigged from stem to stern, as everyone from President Donald Trump to sports fans to the Black Lives Matter movement insists? WSJ, "Michael Lewis Makes Boring Stuff Interesting," 17 May 2019 Even so, the episode has drawn the attention of City Council members, who previously have sent the Sewerage & Water Board a stern 11-page letter demanding more thorough quarterly update reports. Beau Evans, NOLA.com, "Sewerage & Water Board poised to seek risky audit extension," 5 June 2018 Workers there will weld a new 228-meter steel section onto the remaining portion from midship to stern. Costas Paris, WSJ, "Ship Operators Raise Alarms Over String of Vessel Fires," 24 Mar. 2019 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

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

In a statement released Tuesday, salvage company Shinil Group confirmed that the stern of the vessel, the Dmitry Donskoi, once part of the Russian Imperial Navy, had been discovered off South Korea’s Ulleungdo Island. James Rogers, Fox News, "'Treasure-laden' Russian shipwreck sparks controversy," 19 July 2018 At the stern of the Tara, a shipping container was bolted to the deck, with a door and a tiny window cut through the metal walls. Quanta Magazine, "Scientists Map 5,000 New Ocean Viruses," 21 May 2015 Several crew members were injured, none seriously, though the stern of the ship was almost completely submerged. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, "That Wrecked Norwegian Frigate Is Pretty Much Toast," 13 Nov. 2018 The team sailed along the shore, feverishly pedaling the pair of bikes hanging off the stern for extra propulsion. 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 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

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

20 Jun 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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