- The definition of severe is someone or something that is very serious, harsh or critical.
An example of severe as an adjective is the phrase severe punishment which is physically disciplining a child.
severe definition by Webster's New World
- harsh, strict, or highly critical, as in treatment; unsparing; stern
- serious or grave; forbidding, as in expression or manner
- serious or grievous: a severe wound
- conforming strictly to a rule, method, standard, etc.; rigidly accurate or demanding: a severe philosophy
- extremely plain or simple; unornamented; restrained: a dress with severe lines
- keen; extreme; intense: severe pain
- difficult; rigorous; trying: a severe test
Origin: ; from Middle French ; from Old French ; from Classical Latin severus, probably ; from se-, apart (see secede) plush Indo-European base an unverified form wer-, (to be) friendly from source Old English wær, faith, pledge, bond (of friendship)
severe definition by American Heritage Dictionary
adjective se·ver·er, se·ver·est
- Unsparing, harsh, or strict, as in treatment of others: a severe critic.
- Marked by or requiring strict adherence to rigorous standards or high principles: a severe code of behavior.
- Stern or forbidding, as in manner or appearance: spoke in a severe voice.
- Extremely plain in substance or style: a severe black dress.
- Causing great discomfort, damage, or distress: a severe pain; a severe storm.
- Very dangerous or harmful; grave or grievous: severe mental illness.
- Extremely difficult to perform or endure; trying: a severe test of our loyalty.
Origin: Latin sevērus, serious, strict; see segh- in Indo-European roots.
- se·vereˈly adverb
- se·vereˈness noun