dras·​tic | \ ˈdra-stik How to pronounce drastic (audio) \

Definition of drastic

1 : acting rapidly or violently a drastic purgative
2 : extreme in effect or action : severe drastic measures made drastic changes

Examples of drastic in a Sentence

The situation calls for drastic measures. Maybe we should try something less drastic first.
Recent Examples on the Web Throwing away your kitchen counter would be too drastic a measure. Bruce Y. Lee, Forbes, 10 Oct. 2021 Many of the videos using the Pink Stuff show drastic before and afters, prompting viewers to try the product, too. Daysia Tolentino, Fortune, 7 Oct. 2021 Another rider, however, told me their example offered a drastic delta between modes, so perhaps my pre-production tester was an aberration. Manuel Carrillo Iii, Robb Report, 6 Oct. 2021 For the most part, the Hildebrandt children are on the cusp of comparably drastic crises. Becca Rothfeld, The Atlantic, 4 Oct. 2021 People who live in already flood-prone areas could see a drastic rise in their rates. Drew Kann And Ella Nilsen, CNN, 1 Oct. 2021 Earlier that decade, rising global energy prices saw the U.K. go down to a three-day working week as a drastic measure to keep the lights on. NBC News, 24 Sep. 2021 This despite a drastic fall-off in tourism revenue. Klara Glowczewska, Town & Country, 28 Sep. 2021 But Spivak, with his store of encyclopedic knowledge, warns against anything too drastic, and not just because a reduction in recalls might take away some of his fun. Los Angeles Times, 28 Sep. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'drastic.' 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 drastic

circa 1691, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for drastic

Greek drastikos, from dran to do

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Time Traveler for drastic

Time Traveler

The first known use of drastic was circa 1691

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Last Updated

15 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Drastic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drastic. Accessed 25 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of drastic

: extreme in effect or action : severe or serious


dras·​tic | \ ˈdra-stik How to pronounce drastic (audio) \

Kids Definition of drastic

: severe in effect : harsh a drastic change

Other Words from drastic

drastically \ -​sti-​kə-​lē \ adverb


dras·​tic | \ ˈdras-tik How to pronounce drastic (audio) \

Medical Definition of drastic

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: acting rapidly or violently used chiefly of purgatives

Other Words from drastic

drastically \ -​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce drastic (audio) \ adverb



Medical Definition of drastic (Entry 2 of 2)

: a powerful medicinal agent especially : a strong purgative

More from Merriam-Webster on drastic

Nglish: Translation of drastic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of drastic for Arabic Speakers


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