Thesaurus

severe

adjective

Synonyms and Antonyms of severe

  1. 1 given to exacting standards of discipline and self-restraint a severe, uncompromising teacher who locked the classroom door precisely when the bell rang and let no one in afterward Synonyms of severe austere, authoritarian, flinty, hard, harsh, heavy-handed, ramrod, rigid, rigorous, stern, strict, tough Words Related to severe demanding, exacting; uncharitable, unforgiving; adamant, adamantine, callous, hardened, hard-hearted, hard-line, immovable, implacable, inflexible, merciless, ossified, pitiless, relentless, rock-ribbed, stiff, unbending, uncompromising, unrelenting, unsparing, unyielding; dour, gruff; ascetic (also ascetical), monastic, monkish; browbeating, bullying; determined, firm, resolved, single-minded, steadfast, unflinching; dogged, intractable, obstinate, relentless Near Antonyms of severe easy, easygoing, laid-back, undemanding; charitable, kind, merciful, mild, patient, soft, softhearted; accepting, compromising, yielding; responsive, willing; acquiescent, agreeable, amenable, complaisant, compliant, flexible, pliable, pliant Antonyms of severe clement, forbearing, gentle, indulgent, lax, lenient, tolerant

  2. 2 harsh and threatening in manner or appearance clergymen who dressed in severe clothing Synonyms of severe austere, dour, fierce, flinty, forbidding, gruff, intimidating, lowering (also louring), rough, rugged, grim, stark, steely, stern, ungentleWords Related to severe bleak, cold, hostile, inhospitable, inimical, unfriendly, unsympathetic; adamant, bound, determined, firm, intent, purposeful, resolute, resolved, steadfast, unflinching; fixed, hard, hardened, hardheaded, immovable, implacable, inflexible, ironhanded, mulish, obdurate, obstinate, rigid, self-willed, set, stiff, stubborn, unbending, uncompromising, unrelenting, unyielding, willful (or wilful); immutable, unchangeable; black, cheerless, dark, gloomy, glum, joyless, melancholic, moody, morose, sulky, sullen, surly; brooding, grave, humorless, melancholy, serious, sober, sobersided, solemn, somber (or sombre), staid, unsmiling, weightyNear Antonyms of severe bland, meek, mellow, soft, soothing; easy, quiet, tranquil; agreeable, bright, cheerful, inviting, pleasant, pleasing, sweet; glad, happy, lighthearted, merry, mirthful, sunny; featherbrained, flighty, frivolous, giddy, goofy, harebrained, light-headed, playful, scatterbrained, sillyAntonyms of severe benign, benignant, gentle, mild, nonintimidating, tender

  3. 3 not joking or playful in mood or manner the judge maintained a severe expression throughout the trial Synonyms of severe earnest, grave, humorless, no-nonsense, po-faced [British], sedate, serious, sober, sobersided, solemn, staid, uncomic, unsmiling, weightyWords Related to severe harsh, stern, strict; businesslike, professional; dignified, distinguished, elevated, serious-minded; gloomy, grimNear Antonyms of severe antic, comic, comical, droll, farcical, funny, hilarious, hysterical (also hysteric), laughable, light, light-headed, ludicrous, ridiculous, riotous, risible, screaming, sidesplitting, uproarious; featherbrained, flighty, frivolous, goofy, harebrained, lighthearted, puerile, scatterbrained; absurd, asinine, balmy, brainless, cockeyed, crazy, cuckoo, daffy, daft, dotty, fatuous, foolish, half-witted, insane, jerky, kooky (also kookie), loony (also looney), lunatic, mad, nonsensical, nutty, preposterous, sappy, screwball, senseless, silly, unwise, wacky (also whacky), weak-minded, witless, zanyAntonyms of severe facetious, flip, flippant, humorous, jesting, jocular, joking, kittenish, ludic, playful

  4. 4 difficult to endure a severe winter that was among the coldest on record Synonyms of severe bitter, brutal, burdensome, cruel, excruciating, grievous, grim, hard, hardhanded, heavy, inhuman, murderous, onerous, oppressive, rough, rugged, searing, harsh, stiff, tough, tryingWords Related to severe austere, bleak, comfortless, discomforting, forbidding, inhospitable, spartan, uncomfortable; biting, inclement, intemperate, wild; rigorous, strict, stringent; agonizing, heartbreaking, heartrending, painful, wretched; crushing, grinding, overwhelming, wearing; insufferable, insupportable, intolerable, unbearable, unendurable; harrowing, tortuous; bad, disagreeable, hostile, unfriendly, unpleasantNear Antonyms of severe comfortable, cozy, luxurious, snug; agreeable, friendly, genial, hospitable, pleasant; peaceful, relaxing, reposeful, restful; bearable, endurable, painless, tolerable; balmy, calm, clement, gentle, mild, moderate, temperateAntonyms of severe easy, light, soft

  5. 5 requiring considerable physical or mental effort a severe test of courage Synonyms of severe arduous, Augean, backbreaking, challenging, demanding, difficult, effortful, exacting, formidable, grueling (or gruelling), heavy, hellacious, herculean, killer, laborious, moiling, murderous, pick-and-shovel, rigorous, rough, rugged, hard, stiff, strenuous, sweaty, tall, testing, toilsome, tough, uphillWords Related to severe abstract, abstruse, complex, complicated, elusive, hairy, insoluble, intricate, involved, knotty, opaque, problematic (also problematical), recondite, serious, spiny, stubborn, thorny, ticklish, tricky; bruising, burdensome, exhausting, labored, onerous, oppressive, stressful, taxing, tight, trying; annoying, bothersome, distressing, irksome, troublesome, vexatious; grievous, grim, strict, stringent; brutal, cruel, inhuman, painfulNear Antonyms of severe achievable, clear, doable, elementary, manageable, uncomplicated; comforting, gentle, painless, relaxed, smooth, soothing; accessible, friendly, idiotproof, user-friendlyAntonyms of severe cheap, easy, effortless, facile, light, mindless, simple, soft, undemanding

Synonym Discussion of severe

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

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