- The definition of stern is someone who is very serious or strict.
An example of stern is a teacher when he is scolding a student.
- hard; severe; unyielding; strict: stern measures
- grim; forbidding: a stern face
- relentless; inexorable: stern reality
- unshakable; firm: stern determination
Origin of sternMiddle English sterne ; from Old English styrne ; from Indo-European base an unverified form ster-, stiff, rigid from source stare, starve
- the rear end of a ship or boat
- the rear end of anything
Origin of sternMiddle English steorne, stern, rudder ; from Old Norse stjorn, steering ; from styra, to steer
- Stern, Isaac 1920-2001; U.S. violinist, born in Russia
- Stern, Otto 1888-1969; U.S. physicist, born in Germany
- Hard, harsh, or severe in manner or character: a stern disciplinarian. See Synonyms at severe.
- Showing or expressing displeasure or disapproval; forbidding or harsh: a stern face; a stern voice.
- Firm or unyielding; uncompromising: stern resistance.
- Difficult to endure; oppressive: stern necessity.
Origin of sternMiddle English sterne, from Old English styrne; see ster-1 in Indo-European roots.
- Nautical The rear part of a ship or boat.
- A rear part or section.
Origin of sternMiddle English sterne, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse stjōrn, rudder; see stā- in Indo-European roots.
(comparative sterner, superlative sternest)
From Middle English stern, sterne, sturne, from Old English styrne (“stern, grave, strict, austere, hard, severe, cruel”), from Proto-Germanic *sturnijaz (“angry, astonished, shocked”), from Proto-Indo-European *ster-, *ter- (“rigid, stiff”). Cognate with Scots stern (“bold, courageous, fierce, resolute”), Old High German stornēn (“to be astonished”), Dutch stuurs (“glum, austere”), Swedish stursk (“insolent”).
Most likely from Old Norse stjórn (“control, steering”), related to stýra (“to steer”), from Proto-Germanic *stiurijaną, whence also English steer. Also possibly from Old Frisian stiarne (“rudder”), from the same Germanic root.
- A bird, the black tern.
Variant of sterno-
Origin of sterno-; from sternum