Definitions

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state or quality of being stern.
  • n. The result or product of being stern.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. The quality or state of being stern.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. The quality or character of being stern.
  • n. Synonyms See stern, adjective

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

  • n. uncompromising resolution
  • n. the quality (as of scenery) being grim and gloomy and forbidding

Etymologies

stern +‎ -ness (Wiktionary)

Examples

  • a deep impression on the beholder; there must be a great force of will and withholding of resources, giving a sense of depth below depth, which we call sternness; or else there must be that purity, flowing as from an inexhaustible fountain through every lineament, which drives far off or converts all baser natures.

    Memoirs of Margaret Fuller Ossoli

  • He praised her, therefore, for qualities he wished her to possess, encouraged her to reject general opinions by admiring as the symptoms of a superior understanding, the convenient morality upon which she had occasionally acted; and, calling sternness justice, extolled that for strength of mind, which was only callous insensibility.

    The Italian

  • A poor unhappy fool that can not face life's sternness, that is crying out to escape his duty!

    The Journal of Arthur Stirling : the Valley of the Shadow

  • The warm tint added to Cytherea's face a voluptuousness which youth and a simple life had not yet allowed to express itself there ordinarily; whilst in the elder lady's face it reduced the customary expression, which might have been called sternness, if not harshness, to grandeur, and warmed her decaying complexion with much of the youthful richness it plainly had once possessed.

    Desperate Remedies

  • Yet she said this with a kind of sternness that somehow belied it — a click of the voice, as it were.

    An American Tragedy

  • The sternness is a definite act and I don’t think I did misread him.

    Losing Faith

  • In more than one instance, eminently peaceful individuals, affecting the jaunty and war-like Beauregard cap, were hauled up with that true military sternness which is deaf alike to entreaties and remonstrances.

    Memoirs of the War of Secession

  • But the manner they thought pride seemed to me rather a kind of sternness or shortness of speech, as if he wished to have done with the matter in hand.

    In Convent Walls The Story of the Despensers

  • With that sternness which is admissible only to the afflicted, I have denied myself even the consolation of your visits.

    My Novel — Volume 07

  • There is a probability of finding hollows of repose, sunken spots of loveliness, hidden away altogether from the general aspect of sternness, or perhaps sterility, that meets the eye in glancing over the outspread landscape; just as in the natures of stern men you may expect to find, if opportunity should be afforded you, sunny spots of tender verdure, kept ever green by that very sternness which is turned towards the common gaze -- thus existent because they are below the surface, and not laid bare to the sweep of the cold winds that roam the world.

    The Seaboard Parish, Complete

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