: strict in judgment, discipline, or government
: of a strict or stern bearing or manner : austere
: strongly critical or condemnatory
a severe critic
: maintaining a scrupulously exacting standard of behavior or self-discipline
: establishing exacting standards of accuracy and integrity in intellectual processes
a severe logician
: causing discomfort or hardship : harsh
: very painful or harmful
a severe wound
: of a great degree
On Feb. 25 regulators laid out details on how they will run the "stress tests" that Treasury Secretary Timothy F. Geithner has promised on the biggest banks. Now those tests, designed to judge whether the banks have the capital to keep lending and absorb losses in a severe recession, face an exam of their own. —Jane Sasseen et al., Business Week, 9 Mar. 2009 A study in February in the journal Lancet, for instance, compared treatments for severe ankle sprains, concluding that a below-the-knee cast is superior to a tubular compression bandage. —Sharon Begley, Newsweek, 9 Mar. 2009 Between 2000 and 2004 the number of Americans covered by Medicaid rose by a remarkable eight million. Over the same period the ranks of the uninsured rose by six million. So without the growth of Medicaid, the uninsured population would have exploded, and we'd be facing a severe crisis in medical care. —Paul Krugman et al., New York Review of Books, 23 Mar. 2006 As several economists—most notably Jeffrey Williamson, of Harvard University—have written recently, international trade increased dramatically between 1850 and the First World War. Williamson goes on to point out that one consequence of this earlier period of globalization was that governments retreated into policies of severe trade and immigration restrictions. —Nicholas Lemann, New Yorker, 10 May 1999 The storm caused severe damage to the roof. The patient is in severe pain. children with severe learning disabilities In the most severe cases, the disease can lead to blindness. He suffered a severe head injury. He faces severe penalties for his actions. The war was a severe test of his leadership. See More
Recent Examples on the Web If Biden agrees to $2.4 trillion in spending cuts – slightly more than half the amount demanded by Republicans – that would turn a mild recession into a severe one, says Oxford economist Nancy Vanden Houten. —Paul Davidson, USA TODAY, 17 May 2023 The group's ambitious goal is to provide straight answers almost as quickly as disasters strike—for the public, the media and policy makers, as well as for emergency managers and urban planners trying to understand how to prepare for the next severe event. —Lois Parshley, Scientific American, 16 May 2023 The storm that caused the northern lights to appear over Tucson was rated a G4, or severe, geomagnetic storm on a scale of 1 to 5. —Michael Salerno, The Arizona Republic, 16 May 2023 Heche was initially hospitalized in critical condition, having suffered burns and a severe anoxic brain injury from the crash. —Abbey White, The Hollywood Reporter, 15 May 2023 Will people seeking to escape severe poverty and violence have the patience to wait abroad for asylum appointments? —Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post, 13 May 2023 This storm follows severe weather and dozens of tornadoes seen in Oklahoma, Kansas, Nebraska and Colorado that caused damage but no reported deaths. —Julia Musto, Fox News, 13 May 2023 Wire fraud, the most serious charge, carries a penalty of up to 20 years in prison, though experts said a penalty that severe was unlikely. —Terrence Mccoy, Marina Dias And Isaac Stanley-becker, The Washington Post, Anchorage Daily News, 12 May 2023 In a similar vein, the media spent years claiming that in utero exposure to crack cocaine caused children to have severe mental, psychological, and physical disabilities. —Stacey Mckenna, STAT, 11 May 2023 See More
These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'severe.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.
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