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Synonyms of severe in English:


  • 1 severe shortages of basic foodstuffs the victim sustained severe head injuries
    acute, very bad, serious, grave, critical, dire, drastic, grievous, extreme, dreadful, terrible, awful, frightful, appalling, sore;
    alarming, worrying, distressing, dangerous, perilous, life-threatening;
    Medicine  peracute, profound
    archaic or humorous parlous
    [Antonyms] minor, negligible
  • 2 the severe storms which battered Orkney this year
    fierce, violent, strong, wild, powerful, forceful, intense;
    tempestuous, turbulent, tumultuous
    [Antonyms] gentle
  • 3 it was an exceptionally severe winter
    harsh, hard, bitter, bitterly cold, cold, bleak, freezing, icy, arctic, polar, Siberian, extreme, nasty
    [Antonyms] mild
  • 4 Maria complained of a severe headache
    excruciating, agonizing, violent, intense, dreadful, awful, terrible, frightful, unbearable, intolerable, unendurable;
    informal splitting, thumping, pounding
    [Antonyms] slight
  • 5 their traumatic experiences meant that the further five-mile walk would be a severe test of their remaining stamina
    [Antonyms] easy, simple
  • 6 the government's economic policies came in for severe criticism
    harsh, scathing, sharp, strong, fierce, ferocious, stringent, savage, blistering, searing, stinging, scorching, devastating, mordant, trenchant, caustic, biting, cutting, withering, rigorous, unsparing;
    smart, sound
    [Antonyms] mild
  • 7 a campaign against severe tax penalties
    extortionate, excessive, unreasonable, inordinate, outrageous, sky-high, harsh, stiff;
    punitive, punishing, penal;
    British  swingeing
  • 8 army service offered poor living conditions, low pay, and severe discipline Ceauşescu singled out this minority for especially severe treatment
    strict, stern, rigorous, harsh, hard, inflexible, uncompromising, inexorable, implacable, rigid, unbending, relentless, unrelenting, unyielding, merciless, pitiless, ruthless, draconian, oppressive, repressive, punitive, rough, nasty;
    tyrannical, iron-fisted, iron-handed, brutal, inhuman, cruel, savage
    Australian/New Zealand informal solid
    [Antonyms] lenient, lax
  • 9 his severe expression softened
    stern, dour, grim, grim-faced, forbidding, disapproving, tight-lipped, unsmiling, unfriendly, sombre, grave, sober, serious, austere, stiff, flinty, stony, steely, glowering, frowning;
    [Antonyms] genial, friendly
  • 10 the severe style of early Classical Greek architecture
    plain, simple, restrained, unadorned, undecorated, unembellished, unornamented, austere, chaste, spare, stark, ultra-plain, unfussy, without frills, spartan, ascetic, monastic, puritanical;
    [Antonyms] ornate, fancy
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