Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun Nautical The rear part of a ship or boat.
  • noun A rear part or section.
  • adjective Hard, harsh, or severe in manner or character: synonym: severe.
  • adjective Showing or expressing displeasure or disapproval; forbidding or harsh.
  • adjective Firm or unyielding; uncompromising.
  • adjective Difficult to endure; oppressive.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun Same as starn.
  • noun A tern.
  • To steer; guide.
  • To back (a boat) with the oars; back water; row backward.
  • To draw back; back water: said of a boat or its crew.
  • noun The rudder or helm of a vessel.
  • noun Hence, figuratively, any instrument of management or direction; a guiding agent or agency; also, a post of direction or control.
  • noun The hinder part of a ship or boat, where the rudder is placed; the part furthest removed from the stem or prow. See also cut under poop.
  • noun The hinder parts, backside, buttocks, or rump; the tail of an animal.
  • Severe in disposition or conduct; austere; harsh; rigorous; hard.
  • Characterized by severity or rigor; especially, resulting from or expressive of harshness: as, a stern reply; a stern glance; a stern rebuke.
  • Grim or forbidding in aspect; gloomy; repelling.
  • Rough; violent; tumultuous; fierce.
  • Rigid; stringent; strict.
  • Stout; strong; heavy.
  • Firm; unyielding; inflexible; hard.
  • Synonyms Severe. Harsh, Strict, etc. See austere.
  • 1 and
  • Unrelenting, uncompromising, inflexible.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Being in the stern, or being astern.
  • adjective (Naut.) a going or falling astern; a loss of way in making a tack. See Board, n., 8 (b).
  • adjective (Naut.) A stern chaser.
  • adjective (Naut.) a cannon placed in a ship's stern, pointing backward, and intended to annoy a ship that is in pursuit.
  • adjective (Naut.) a rope used to confine the stern of a ship or other vessel, as to a wharf or buoy.
  • adjective (Naut.) the framework of timber forms the stern of a ship.
  • adjective See Sternson.
  • adjective (Naut.) a port, or opening, in the stern of a ship.
  • adjective (Naut.) that part of an open boat which is between the stern and the aftmost seat of the rowers, -- usually furnished with seats for passengers.
  • adjective a paddle wheel attached to the stern of the steamboat which it propels.
  • noun (Zoöl.) The black tern.
  • adjective Having a certain hardness or severity of nature, manner, or aspect; hard; severe; rigid; rigorous; austere; fixed; unchanging; unrelenting; hence, serious; resolute; harsh
  • noun obsolete The helm or tiller of a vessel or boat; also, the rudder.
  • noun (Naut.) The after or rear end of a ship or other vessel, or of a boat; the part opposite to the stem, or prow.
  • noun Fig.: The post of management or direction.
  • noun The hinder part of anything.
  • noun The tail of an animal; -- now used only of the tail of a dog.
  • noun (Naut.) See By the head, under By.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • adjective Having a hardness and severity of nature or manner.
  • adjective Grim and forbidding in appearance.
  • noun nautical The rear part or after end of a ship or vessel.

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

  • adjective severely simple
  • noun the rear part of a ship
  • noun the fleshy part of the human body that you sit on
  • adjective severe and unremitting in making demands

Etymologies

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

[Middle English sterne, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse stjōrn, rudder; see stā- in Indo-European roots.]

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

[Middle English sterne, from Old English styrne; see ster- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

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").

Examples

  • “There are few things I would deny you, Daughter, without good reason,” Balm answered, her expression stern.

    Shadow Chase

  • “There are few things I would deny you, Daughter, without good reason,” Balm answered, her expression stern.

    Shadow Chase

  • President Obama's promising what he calls a stern response if North Korea launches a missile, as it now threatens.

    CNN Transcript Apr 2, 2009

  • Before she could get any more information from him, Marco walked over to them, his expression stern.

    That’s Amore

  • QUESTION: The Associated Press reports that in reaction to what they termed your stern rebuke of Jerry Thacker, a group called Human Rights Campaign said that while this was a positive development, the Bush administration's, quote, "Obsessive focus on abstinence as the solitary mechanism to prevent the transmission of HIV is not based on sound science."

    CNN Transcript Jan 27, 2003

  • She liked him for a certain stern soberness that was his, and for his saving grace of humor.

    CHAPTER 8

  • Storm of mutinous anger gathers round the Captain stern and true,

    The Voyage of Magellan

  • Lavishness lives on among the audience members, whose gaudy fashion sense the evening I attended was in stern defiance of Mr. Zapatero's plan de austeridad.

    In Madrid, the Party Goes On, Austero Style

  • CBS trying to sue stern is sour grapes and distracting from their FM disaster.

    David Lee Roth: Amtrak FM « BuzzMachine

  • I think howard stern is a pervert and i never give him the time of day.

    The outcry over indecency is a big lie « BuzzMachine

Comments

Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • German for 'star'.

    January 9, 2008