There are 2 definitions of stern in English:

stern1

Syllabification: stern
Pronunciation: /stərn
 
/

adjective

1(Of a person or their manner) serious and unrelenting, especially in the assertion of authority and exercise of discipline: a smile transformed his stern face Mama looked stern
More example sentences
  • For those who expect a stern teacher and a serious photographer, he is a bundle of surprise.
  • He was my mother's favorite brother and our least favorite Uncle; he was too stern, too serious, too strict.
  • But she was stern in demeanor and normally carried a serious face.
Synonyms
serious, unsmiling, frowning, severe, forbidding, grim, unfriendly, austere, dour, stony, flinty, steely, unrelenting, unforgiving, unbending, unsympathetic, disapproving
1.1(Of an act or statement) strict and severe; using extreme measures or terms: stern measures to restrict growth of traffic
More example sentences
  • He still spoke in his cool voice but it was a stern statement.
  • After 50 minutes of stern questions and answers - the length of a typical undergraduate class - the interrogation is over.
  • And they have issued a stern warning to those responsible: Stop before somebody dies.
Synonyms
strict, severe, stringent, harsh, drastic, hard, tough, extreme, rigid, ruthless, rigorous, exacting, demanding, uncompromising, unsparing, inflexible, authoritarian, draconian
1.2(Of competition or opposition) putting someone or something under extreme pressure: the past year has been a stern test of the ability of local industry
More example sentences
  • The controversial plan is facing stern opposition by locals and following a very well attended meeting last month this months meeting is set once again to draw a very large crowd.
  • Leitrim did provide stern opposition for long periods, but Sligo's superior skill and fitness levels ensured that they prevailed in the end.
  • Only bitter rivals New Zealand provide stern opposition, but recently the Aussies have been getting the better of these encounters.

Origin

Old English styrne, probably from the West Germanic base of the verb stare.

Phrases

be made of sterner stuff

Have a stronger character and be more able to overcome problems than others: whereas James was deeply wounded by the failure, George was made of sterner stuff
[from Shakespeare's Julius Caesar ( iii. 2. 93)]
More example sentences
  • I suppose leaders were made of sterner stuff back then.
  • Thankfully, our medieval forbears were made of sterner stuff.
  • I can only pray our next Prime Minister is made of sterner stuff.

the sterner sex

archaic Men regarded collectively and in contrast to women.
More example sentences
  • And what makes such nonessential activities seem so vital to members of the sterner sex, when their sisters are generally just as happy to forgo them?
  • To the sterner sex the mantle of virtue is no less becoming; and fidelity is as much of an adornment and requirement to them as of the gentler sex.
  • Society exacts of woman minute attention to little formalities which would be excused in a man in this land, where the sterner sex are almost to a unit immersed in business or politics.

Derivatives

sternly

adverb
More example sentences
  • Before taping began, we were sternly cautioned that only female contestants were permitted to kiss Bob.
  • The government should sternly crack down on violent demonstrations to preserve the law and keep social order.
  • Usually they're in the forms of ancestors, mostly benevolent and at worst sternly disapproving.

sternness

noun
More example sentences
  • In a field rooted in moral concern, there is a long tradition of solemnity and sternness.
  • ‘Get out of here,’ she'll warn with a phony sternness.
  • Part of this was due to the sternness of the Captain.

Definition of stern in:

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There are 2 definitions of stern in English:

stern2

Syllabification: stern
Pronunciation: /stərn
 
/

noun

1The rearmost part of a ship or boat: he stood at the stern of the yacht
More example sentences
  • The overtaking boat should slow down when just aft the stern of the boat being overtaken and proceed around at the slowest speed possible to pass.
  • The docking bay, with doors at the stern of the ship, can be flooded for amphibious operations using small landing craft.
  • The towed sonar and towed decoys are launched from the stern of the ship.
Synonyms
rear (end), back, after end, poop, transom, tail
1.1 humorous A person’s bottom: my stern can’t take too much sun

Origin

Middle English: probably from Old Norse stjórn 'steering', from stýra 'to steer'.

Derivatives

sterned

adjective
[in combination]: a square-sterned vessel

sternmost

Pronunciation: /-ˌmōst/
adjective
More example sentences
  • You could continue to the stern and pass over a salvage hole towards the sternmost pair of 6 inch guns.
  • The sternmost sections of the upper two decks were open and, not surprisingly, were cold and wet.
  • Canoeing is usually done in pairs: the sternmost person is responsible for steering while the speed depends on the foremost one.

sternward

adverb
More example sentences
  • Pumped water is used to clean the grill and to push waste sternward along the sides of the barge.
  • You are emphasizing a force directed sternward rather than doing everything to enhance forward motion to bow.
  • I released myself from my forward looking position, and turned back sternward to remember where I had come from.

Definition of stern in: