adjective (severer, severest)
- 1(Of something bad or undesirable) very great; intense: a severe shortage of technicians a severe attack of asthma damage is not too severeMore example sentences
acute, very bad, serious, grave, critical, dreadful, terrible, awful; dangerous, parlous, life-threatening• formal grievousfierce, violent, strong, powerful, intense; tempestuous, turbulentexcruciating, agonizing, intense, dreadful, awful, terrible, unbearable, intolerable• informal splitting, pounding, screaming
- Mrs Al-Munchi is believed to have suffered a severe asthma attack earlier in the day.
- Henry Bartlam was only six weeks old when he suffered a severe asthma attack which nearly killed him.
- A girl died from a severe asthma attack that may have been triggered by bullying, an inquest heard.
- 1.1Demanding great ability, skill, or resilience: a severe test of staminaMore example sentences
- Jose Mourinho's managerial skills would face a severe test.
- The matches, all played in front of crowds in the impressive Hong Kong stadium, combine fast-handling rugby with severe tests of stamina.
- And Jewell knows he is now facing up to a severe test of his managerial skills as Wigan aim to set off on a winning run.
- 2Strict or harsh: the charges would have warranted a severe sentence he is unusually severe on what he regards as tendentious pseudo-learningMore example sentences
harsh, bitter, cold, bleak, freezing, icy, arctic, extreme• informal brutalscathing, sharp, strong, fierce, savage, scorching, devastating, trenchant, caustic, biting, witheringextortionate, excessive, unreasonable, inordinate, outrageous, sky-high, harsh, stiff; punitiveharsh, stern, hard, inflexible, uncompromising, unrelenting, merciless, pitiless, ruthless, draconian, oppressive, repressive, punitive; brutal, cruel, savage
- Certainly, there should be stricter laws and more severe punishments for breaking them, if we want to live in a violence-free society.
- It was a strict regime and punishments were severe.
- We bore harsh criticism for our efforts and some of us suffered severe punishment.
- 3Very plain in style or appearance: she wore another severe suit, gray this timeMore example sentences
- A girl in a rather severe suit wanted to see his driver's licence as proof of identity.
- He wears impeccably tailored suits in the traditional, severe Soviet style.
- As always, his attiring room looked windswept and severe: a plain chest, a narrow mirror, a low divan spread with furs.
mid 16th century (sense 2): from French sévère or Latin severus.