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Webster 1913 Edition


Severe

Se-vere′

,
Adj.
[
Com
par.
Severer
;
sup
erl.
Severest
.]
[L.
severus
; perhaps akin to Gr. [GREEK][GREEK][GREEK] awe, [GREEK][GREEK][GREEK] revered, holy, solemn, Goth.
swikns
innocent, chaste: cf. F.
sévère
. Cf.
Asseverate
,
Persevere
.]
1.
Serious in feeling or manner; sedate; grave; austere; not light, lively, or cheerful.
Your looks alter, as your subject does,
From kind to fierce, from wanton to
severe
.
Waller.
2.
Very strict in judgment, discipline, or government; harsh; not mild or indulgent; rigorous;
as,
severe
criticism;
severe
punishment
.
“Custody severe.”
Milton.
Come! you are too
severe
a moraler.
Shakespeare
Let your zeal, if it must be expressed in anger, be always more
severe
against thyself than against others.
Jer. Taylor.
3.
Rigidly methodical, or adherent to rule or principle; exactly conformed to a standard; not allowing or employing unneccessary ornament, amplification, etc.; strict; – said of style, argument, etc.
“Restrained by reason and severe principles.”
Jer. Taylor.
The Latin, a most
severe
and compendious language.
Dryden.
4.
Sharp; afflictive; distressing; violent; extreme;
as,
severe
pain, anguish, fortune;
severe
cold
.
5.
Difficult to be endured; exact; critical; rigorous;
as, a
severe
test
.
Syn. – Strict; grave; austere; stern; morose; rigid; exact; rigorous; hard; rough; harsh; censorious; tart; acrimonious; sarcastic; satirical; cutting; biting; keen; bitter; cruel. See
Strict
.
Se-vere′ly
,
adv.
Se-vere′ness
,
Noun.

Webster 1828 Edition


Severe

SEVE'RE

,
Adj.
[L. severus.]
1. Rigid; harsh; not mild or indulgent; as severe words; severe treatment; severe wrath.
2. Sharp; hard rigorous.
Let your zeal-be more severe against thyself than against others. Taylor.
3. Very strict; or sometimes perhaps, unreasonably strict or exact; giving no indulgence to faults or errors; as severe government; severe criticism.
4. Rigorous, perhaps cruel; as severe punishment; severe justice.
5. Grave; sober; sedate to an extreme; opposed to cheerful, gay, light, lively.
Your looks must alter, as your subject does,
From kind to fierce, from wanton to severe. Waller.
6. Rigidly exact; strictly methodical; not lax or airy. I will not venture on on so nice a subject with my severe style.
7. Sharp; afflictive; distressing; violent; as severe pain, anguish, torture, &c.
8. Sharp; biting; extreme; as severe cold.
9. Close; concise; not luxuriant.
The Latin, a most severe and compendious language- Dryden.
10. Exact; critical; nice; as a sever test.

Definition 2022


severe

severe

See also: sévère

English

Adjective

severe (comparative severer or more severe, superlative severest or most severe)

  1. Very bad or intense.
    • 2012 January 1, Donald Worster, “A Drier and Hotter Future”, in American Scientist, volume 100, number 1, page 70:
      Phoenix and Lubbock are both caught in severe drought, and it is going to get much worse. We may see many such [dust] storms in the decades ahead, along with species extinctions, radical disturbance of ecosystems, and intensified social conflict over land and water. Welcome to the Anthropocene, the epoch when humans have become a major geological and climatic force.
  2. Strict or harsh.
  3. Sober, plain in appearance, austere.

Synonyms

Antonyms

  • (very bad or intense): mild
  • (very bad or intense): minor
  • (strict or harsh): lenient

Derived terms

Translations

Anagrams


Esperanto

Adverb

severe

  1. severely

Related terms


Italian

Adjective

severe

  1. feminine plural of severo

Latin

Verb

sēvēre

  1. third-person plural perfect active indicative of serō

Adjective

sevēre

  1. vocative masculine singular of sevērus

References