\ ˈstärk How to pronounce stark (audio) \

Definition of stark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : rigid in or as if in death
b : rigidly conforming (as to a pattern or doctrine) : absolute stark discipline
2 archaic : strong, robust
3 : utter, sheer stark nonsense
b(1) : having few or no ornaments : bare a stark white room
(2) : harsh, blunt the stark realities of death
5 : sharply delineated a stark contrast



Definition of stark (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : in a stark manner
2 : to an absolute or complete degree : wholly stark naked stark mad

Other Words from stark


starkly adverb
starkness noun

Examples of stark in a Sentence

Adjective The room was decorated with stark simplicity. the stark reality of death This tragedy serves as a stark reminder of the dangers of drunk driving. There is a stark difference between them. His criticism of the movie stands in stark contrast to the praise it has received from others.
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective And the gulf in actual and expected averages is stark. Gabe Lacques, USA TODAY, 2 May 2022 The racial disparities in income among South L.A. households are even more stark. Los Angeles Times, 29 Apr. 2022 In some parts of Minneapolis, the gaps were even more stark. Washington Post, 27 Apr. 2022 The splits both within and between both political parties are stark, and each faction within the larger American foreign policy debate has struggled to navigate a tricky landscape. Blaise Malley, The New Republic, 26 Apr. 2022 Still, the poll from the University of Chicago Harris School of Public Policy and The Associated Press-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research shows stark differences between Republicans and Democrats who want to see schools make adjustments. NBC News, 14 Apr. 2022 Bob Donovan, Cavalier Johnson records show stark differences Milwaukee's mayoral candidates overlapped on the Common Council for just one term — and that's about where their similarities end. D. Kwas, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, 1 Apr. 2022 In this way, global events with stark differences in meaning and costs of life are understood as a collection of online incidents. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, 10 Mar. 2022 Her work has illuminated declining birthrates, shrinking family sizes, stark urban-rural differences and trends toward an aging population. The Salt Lake Tribune, 30 Jan. 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adverb But the lack of health insurance, sick pay and other protections for many Americans, including Uber contractors, is stark now. Shira Ovide, New York Times, 11 Apr. 2020 The divide is stark between the two categories of states. Shawn Tully, Fortune, 24 Apr. 2020 The contrast is most stark between California and New York., 1 Apr. 2020 The implications are undeniably stark: Informal caregivers will no doubt continue to absorb the majority of the strain. Grace Hatton, STAT, 24 Dec. 2019 But the climactic sequence of Midsommar features one of the last surviving Americans running stark naked across the noonday greensward with nobody obviously chasing him. Ross Douthat, National Review, 25 July 2019 Around the turn of the last century, our place, which is now surrounded by woods, sat stark on a bald hilltop with nary a tree in sight. Vogue, 21 June 2018 Kruger’s stark, carefully laid out design cleverly turns the façade of an innocuous strip-building into the memory of a Greek temple, the classical style in which art museums were once conventionally built. Christopher Knight,, 14 June 2018 Joslyn Gray is the author of the humor blog stark. raving. Joslyn Gray, Redbook, 12 Mar. 2012 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'stark.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of stark


before the 12th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a


13th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for stark


Middle English, stiff, strong, from Old English stearc; akin to Old High German starc strong, Lithuanian starinti to stiffen — more at stare

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Time Traveler for stark

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The first known use of stark was before the 12th century

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Dictionary Entries Near stark

star jelly



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Last Updated

9 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Stark.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for stark


\ ˈstärk How to pronounce stark (audio) \
starker; starkest

Kids Definition of stark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : barren sense 2, desolate a stark landscape
2 : clear and harsh She faced the stark reality of poverty.
3 : very obvious The differences were stark.



Kids Definition of stark (Entry 2 of 2)

: completely stark naked

Stark biographical name (1)

\ ˈshtärk How to pronounce Stark (audio) , ˈstärk How to pronounce Stark (audio) \

Definition of Stark

 (Entry 1 of 2)

Johannes 1874–1957 German physicist


biographical name (2)
\ ˈstärk How to pronounce Stark (audio) \

Definition of Stark (Entry 2 of 2)

John 1728–1822 American general in Revolution

More from Merriam-Webster on stark

Nglish: Translation of stark for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of stark for Arabic Speakers


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