Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • adj. Severe or radical in nature; extreme: the drastic measure of amputating the entire leg; drastic social change brought about by the French Revolution.
  • adj. Taking effect violently or rapidly: a drastic emetic.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • adj. Extreme, severe.
  • adj. Acting rapidly or violently.
  • adj. Extremely severe or extensive.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • adj. Acting rapidly and violently; efficacious; powerful; -- opposed to bland.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • Effective; efficacious; powerful; acting with force or violence; vigorous: as, a drastic cathartic. Compare cathartic, adjective
  • n. A medicine which speedily and effectually purges.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adj. forceful and extreme and rigorous

Etymologies

Greek drastikos, active, from drastos, to be done, from drān, to do.
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
Ancient Greek δραστικός (drastikos, "active, efficient"), from δρᾶσις (drasis, "strength, efficacy"), itself from δράω (drao, "to do") (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • He also blames the so-called quantitative easing monetary policies in countries like the United States for causing what he describes as "drastic fluctuations" in currency exchange rates and commodity prices.

    China Offers Earthquake Condolences to Japan

  • In a statement in Pretoria the IFP said the move, which it described as drastic, had to be discussed widely since it impacted negatively on students conducting their studies in Afrikaans.

    ANC Daily News Briefing

  • Motoko Rich reported in The Times recently on new research showing that most people who lost their jobs in recent years now make less and have not maintained their lifestyles, with many experiencing what they describe as drastic - and probably irreversible - declines in income.

    msnbc.com: Top msnbc.com headlines

  • C.ristopher C. Healy, the chairman of the C.nnecticut Republican Party, said Republicans were justified in blocking what he described as a drastic overreaching by Mr. Obama.

    NYT > Home Page

  • Speaking at the conclusion of the G20 economic summit this week, President Obama spoke of what he called the drastic decline in U.S. exports over the last several months.

    NPR Topics: News

  • Getting people to agree to a rule change, no matter how "drastic," is not cheating.

    Lance Mannion:

  • I'm not saying they need to be involved with a child's every internet moment, but the access anyone has to the internet is taken so lightly, and its not up to websites to put in drastic measures in place to keep certain people out.

    Online Distribution of Red Band Trailers Draws Controversy | /Film

  • Without slashing the federal government in drastic and politically-unacceptable ways, the deficit in the next two years is still going to be incredibly high -- probably over a trillion dollars both years.

    Chris Weigant: Tea Partiers Should Prepare for Disappointment

  • Something so drastic is going to have to happen to shake us out of our perfect little worlds that I shudder to think of what that might be.

    What do you think of our great president's idea of opening up the U.S. border?

  • Done correctly, this could result in drastic fuel savings.

    The EU may approve

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