Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Date: 1500-1600
Language: French
Origin: sévère, from Latin severus

severe

adjective
     
se‧vere S3 W2
1

very serious

severe problems, injuries, illnesses etc are very bad or very serious:
His injuries were quite severe.
She's suffering from severe depression.
The US faces severe economic problems.
The storm caused severe damage.
2

weather

severe weather is very bad and very extreme, and very hot, dry, cold etc
3

punishment

a severe punishment is very strict or extreme:
Drug smugglers can expect severe penalties.
4

criticism

severe criticism is very extreme and shows that you think someone has done something very badly:
The president came under severe criticism for his handling of the crisis.
5

difficult

very difficult and needing a lot of effort and skill:
The negotiations will be a severe test of his abilities.
6

person

someone who is severe behaves in a way that does not seem friendly or sympathetic, and is very strict or disapproving [= stern]:
His slightly severe expression softened.
7

plain

very plain with little or no decoration:
a rather severe red-brick building
severity noun [uncountable and countable]
We didn't realize the severity of her illness.

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