Adjective "Stern" definition and examples



Definitions and examples


(of a person or their manner) serious and unrelenting, especially in the assertion of authority and exercise of discipline.
  1. 'Mama looked stern'
  2. 'They look at our tickets uncertainly and say they can't let us in, but perhaps we can speak to their boss, a stern man who is marching across the road towards us even as we turn towards him.'
  3. 'Her mother was a good cook and her father wasn't the stern disciplinarian he expected.'
  4. 'But, behind a somewhat stern exterior, Brian was a modest and very likeable man.'
  5. 'All are stern judges and they expect others to be as serious about everything as they are.'
  6. '‘I have already spoken to your brother,’ she said in a tone that reminded me of a stern nun for some odd reason.'
  7. 'She spoke as quietly as her brother, but her voice was more stern.'
  8. 'For those who expect a stern teacher and a serious photographer, he is a bundle of surprise.'
  9. 'Her growing rapport with the von Trapp children, coupled with her generosity and spirit, gradually captures the heart of the stern Captain and they are soon married.'
  10. 'Adam's relaxed yet stern expression was deeply unsettling.'
  11. 'The middle-aged woman was very stern, and often unaware of her tedious lectures.'
  12. 'And they have issued a stern warning to those responsible: Stop before somebody dies.'
  13. 'He still spoke in his cool voice but it was a stern statement.'
  14. 'We had stern orders not to try to move and play our instruments at the same time.'
  15. 'His stern objection to secret loans has struck a hard and unexpected blow.'
  16. 'It has been praised by the regional water watchdog for what it is doing while others have come in for stern criticism.'
  17. 'She had some stern advice for those attending the performance.'
  18. 'We were released with a very stern warning about controlled substances, but no charges were laid.'
  19. 'These episodes were unpredictable yet frequent enough to elicit a stern warning from her job supervisor.'
  20. 'Penalties range from a stern warning to fines to lawsuits.'
  21. 'But her stern directives made officials step on the gas.'
  22. 'the past year has been a stern test of the ability of British industry'
  23. 'Even though the Waratahs will be depleted due to Wallabies commitments, they will still present a stern challenge for a Scotland side that will be shorn of the conquering test heroes.'
  24. 'Only bitter rivals New Zealand provide stern opposition, but recently the Aussies have been getting the better of these encounters.'
  25. 'That would be an excellent achievement but we know that Dublin pose a very stern test.'
  26. 'Troublemakers who create a nuisance at Lancaster bus station are to face stern new opposition.'
  27. 'All geared up for a crucial play-off clash, the Reds failed to provide as stern a test as they needed to against the Cumbrains.'
  28. 'Harrogate initially applied stern pressure in the afternoon singles, but the York lads countered strongly to take command.'
  29. 'It was expected to be a stern test, and over the 80 minutes it proved to be just that.'
  30. 'Leitrim did provide stern opposition for long periods, but Sligo's superior skill and fitness levels ensured that they prevailed in the end.'
  31. 'St Hugh's provided stern opposition and plenty of character but could not cope with the extra ability found amongst the team in claret and blue.'
  32. 'This Friday they face a stern test when they travel to play Carlow outfit Killeen.'


The rearmost part of a ship or boat.
  1. 'The coast guard said it found a small vessel - with three engines and three screws - inside double doors on the stern of the salvaged ship.'
  2. '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.'
  3. 'It lay in two pieces at 38m, with the bow on its starboard side and the stern lying to port.'
  4. 'She soon found herself back at the stern of the ship.'
  5. 'As was expected, Luke was found by himself at the stern of the ship, just staring away into the sky.'
  6. 'The docking bay, with doors at the stern of the ship, can be flooded for amphibious operations using small landing craft.'
  7. 'With that, the duo of pirates retired to the stern of the boat.'
  8. 'The last of the setting sun glinted on antennae, radar and spotlights as they hugged the stern of the pilot boat.'
  9. 'A wooden dragonhead is attached at the bow, and a dragon tail at the stern.'
  10. 'The Chinese had a boat called a junk which was flat bottomed and had square bow and stern.'
  11. 'my stern can't take too much sun'


1. firm, strict, or uncompromising: stern discipline.

2. hard, harsh, or severe: a stern reprimand.

3. rigorous or austere; of an unpleasantly serious character: stern times.

4. grim or forbidding in aspect: a stern face.

More examples(as adjective)

"people can be stern with people."

"people can be stern in/at/on ways."

"people can be stern with wives."

"people can be stern with myselfs."

"people can be stern in things."

More examples++


(stern)Middle English: probably from Old Norse stjórn ‘steering’, from stýra ‘to steer’.


be made of sterner stuff
the sterner sex