Meaning of stern

stern




You know when you’ve done something really wrong, and the person who gets you in trouble has that unforgiving look on his face? The best word for that look is stern, meaning “strict” or “severe.”

Stern, strict, severe, harsh, unforgiving — they all more or less mean the same thing, which is very tough and exacting, with a little helping of seriousness thrown in for good measure. What does this have to do with the stern of a boat, also known as the rear area? Um, nothing? But it’s good to know about that meaning too, since it could come in handy some day when you’re giving directions on a ship.

Definitions of stern
  1. adjective

    of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor; forbidding in aspect

    “a
    stern face”
    synonyms:

    austere

    nonindulgent, strict

    characterized by strictness, severity, or restraint
  2. adjective

    severe and unremitting in making demands

    “a
    stern disciplinarian”
    synonyms:

    exacting, strict

    demanding

    requiring more than usually expected or thought due; especially great patience and effort and skill
  3. adjective

    severely simple

    synonyms:

    austere, severe, stark

    plain

    not elaborate or elaborated; simple
  4. adjective

    not to be placated or appeased or moved by entreaty

    “the
    stern demands of parenthood”
    synonyms:

    grim, inexorable, relentless, unappeasable, unforgiving, unrelenting

    implacable

    incapable of being placated
  5. noun

    the rear part of a ship

    synonyms:

    after part, poop, quarter, tail

    see moresee less

    type of:

    back, rear

    the side that goes last or is not normally seen

  6. noun

    the fleshy part of the human body that you sit on

    synonyms:

    ass, backside, behind, bottom, bum, buns, butt, buttocks, can, derriere, fanny, fundament, hind end, hindquarters, keister, nates, posterior, prat, rear, rear end, rump, seat, tail, tail end, tooshie, tush

    see moresee less

    type of:

    body part

    any part of an organism such as an organ or extremity

Word Family

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