Definition of stark in English:

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Pronunciation: /stärk/


1Severe or bare in appearance or outline: the ridge formed a stark silhouette against the sky
More example sentences
  • The figures are life-size cut-outs, silhouetted against the stark white walls, which gives them a three-dimensional sculptural quality.
  • The kitchen and bathroom are stark white, very simple and linear, but it creates a nice balance.
  • The fence will look truly stark and bare when it's gone, so I shall plant three or four vigorous climbing jasmines along it, water, and retire to a safe distance.
sharp, sharply defined, well focused, crisp, distinct, obvious, evident, clear, clear-cut, graphic, striking
desolate, bare, barren, arid, vacant, empty, forsaken, godforsaken, bleak, somber, depressing, cheerless, joyless
literary drear
austere, severe, bleak, plain, simple, bare, unadorned, unembellished, undecorated
1.1Unpleasantly or sharply clear; impossible to avoid: his position on civil rights is in stark contrast to that of his liberal opponent the stark reality of life for deprived minorities
More example sentences
  • In fact, in stark contrast to his colleagues in the game, he is a model professional who does not smoke, drink or abuse women.
  • His evidence in chief stood in stark contrast to his evidence on cross-examination.
  • Yet the stark reality of statistics, and the facts themselves, reveal a quite different story to the one we have come to accept.
blunt, bald, bare, simple, basic, plain, unvarnished, harsh, grim
2 [attributive] Complete; sheer: he came running back in stark terror
More example sentences
  • Even total depression is preferable to complete stark terror.
  • The sheer excitement, energy, and also stark terror of that moment must have been nearly overwhelming.
  • This morning, I trudged through the knee-high drifts of wolves to bring you a picture which sums up the stark terror facing this country.
sheer, utter, complete, absolute, total, pure, downright, out-and-out, outright;
rank, thorough, consummate, unqualified, unmitigated, unalloyed
2.1 rare Completely naked.
Example sentences
  • Slowly..they began to disrobe themselves..till they stood before stark as the day they were born.
3 archaic or literary Stiff, rigid, or incapable of movement: a human body lying stiff and stark by the stream
More example sentences
  • It mixed stylised, stark movement, rhythmic ensemble sequences and wonderful characterisation.
  • A number of babies - I should say about thirty - were laid out there stiff and stark.
3.1Physically strong or powerful: the dragoons were stark fellows
More example sentences
  • I had never heard a voice like his, or lyrics so stark and powerful.
  • The similarities between the two men are stark - the same strong jaw, angular features and receding hairline.
  • Powerful and stark, Scottsboro reminds us of the continuing impact and importance of our country's tradition of dissent.



stark naked

Completely naked.
Example sentences
  • It's funny how in periods of extreme stress most people seem to have one particular recurring theme in their dreams, it may be dreams about falling, about losing someone they love, or walking down the high street stark naked.
  • Muriel - ‘tiny and dark’ and stark naked - agreed.
  • Only a few weeks ago a London jury acquitted a man on a charge of outraging public decency even though he cheerfully admitted that he walked around stark naked, and appeared thus in court.

stark raving mad

informal Completely crazy.
Example sentences
  • If you lived next to some of these sites you would go stark staring mad.
  • The world of advertising has gone stark staring mad.
  • Meanwhile, Lawrence O'Donnell - in the true spirit of Kerry supporters everywhere - has gone stark raving mad.



Pronunciation: /ˈstärknəs/
Example sentences
  • The political arena often produces heated exchanges and the starkness of the voting system produces winners and losers.
  • The starkness of the moral choice is utterly compelling: do you both die or do you, in effect, kill your companion?
  • For instance, if your suite and other furnishings conspire to create a more comfortable and traditional look, the starkness of the new window treatment will dominate the look and it will appear unfinished by comparison.


Old English stearc 'unyielding, severe', of Germanic origin; related to Dutch sterk and German stark 'strong'.

Words that rhyme with stark

arc, ark, Bach, bark, barque, Braque, Clark, clerk, dark, embark, hark, impark, Iraq, Ladakh, Lamarck, lark, macaque, marc, mark, marque, narc, nark, Newark, park, quark, sark, shark, snark, spark, Vlach

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: stark

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