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 Making a drastic career move can feel scary and a bit impulsive. Celeste Polanco, Essence, 16 Nov. 2021 In July, Judge Roslyn Silver took the drastic measure of rescinding the settlement and ordering a bench trial, which began on November 1st. Jimmy Jenkins, The Arizona Republic, 16 Nov. 2021 However, that’s a drastic improvement from where this team was after five weeks, allowing 136 rushing yards per contest and 4.4 yards per carry. Omar Kelly, sun-sentinel.com, 15 Nov. 2021 With the pandemic stepping in, the drastic shift to digital representation became more evident than ever. Liana Zavo, Forbes, 15 Nov. 2021 An ailing mother who has to find a caregiver for her young daughter makes a drastic decision. Intl. Shalini Dore, Variety, 11 Nov. 2021 Maybe things won’t ever get that drastic for Stroud. Stephen Means, cleveland, 11 Nov. 2021 If millions of people aren’t enough to pressure leaders to take drastic and enforceable action on climate change, how many are? Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, 8 Nov. 2021 The committee also subpoenaed former national security adviser Michael Flynn, one of the prominent voices around Trump after the election who publicly called on the president to take drastic actions to overturn the results. Benjamin Siegel, ABC News, 8 Nov. 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.

See More

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

Learn More About drastic

Time Traveler for drastic

Time Traveler

The first known use of drastic was circa 1691

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near drastic




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for drastic

Last Updated

20 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Drastic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/drastic. Accessed 1 Dec. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More Definitions for drastic



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


Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Thing: Flower Edition

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!