rigorous or austere; of an unpleasantly serious character:stern times.
grim or forbidding in aspect:a stern face.
Etymology:bef. 1000; Middle English; Old English styrne
stern′ly,adv. stern′ness,n. 1, 2. adamant, unrelenting, unsympathetic, cruel, unfeeling. Stern,severe,harsh agree in referring to methods, aspects, manners, or facial expressions. Stern implies uncompromising, inflexible firmness, and sometimes a hard, forbidding, or withdrawn aspect or nature:a stern parent.Severe implies strictness, lack of sympathy, and a tendency to impose a hard discipline on others:a severe judge.Harsh suggests a great severity and roughness, and cruel, unfeeling treatment of others:a harsh critic.1. lenient. stern2(stûrn), n.
Nautical, Naval Termsthe after part of a vessel (often opposed to stem).
the back or rear of anything.
Astronomy(cap.)[Astron.]the constellation Puppis.
Sport[Fox Hunting.]the tail of a hound.
Old Norse stjōrn steering (done aft; see sternpost)
Middle English sterne, probably 1250–1300
MonarchyIsaac, born 1920, U.S. violinist, born in Russia.
MonarchyOtto, 1888–1969, U.S. physicist, born in Germany: Nobel prize 1943.