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From Longman Dictionary of Contemporary Englishsternstern1 /stɜːn $ stɜːrn/ ●○○ adjective  1 STRICTserious and strict, and showing strong disapproval of someone’s behaviour sterner penalties for drug offencesstern look/voice/expression etc ‘Wait!’ I shouted in my sternest voice.stern warning/rebuke His actions have earned him stern rebukes from human rights organizations.see thesaurus at strict2 be made of sterner stuffsternly adverbsternness noun [uncountable]
Examples from the Corpus
sternSundram insisted the act was a reasonable response to the stern anti-drug law approved under then Gov.Sheila walked into the museum, under the stern gaze of the curator.a stern judgeA stern judgment indeed, but an accurate one none the less.And she had also forgotten the stern lecture she had given herself earlier, she thought despairingly.Her grandfather was a stern man who rarely smiled.But Thursday morning beaming managers were replaced by stern security guards who refused to even let workers into the building.This time, however, the opposition was made of sterner stuff.But he reminded reporters of the stern warnings issued Sunday by Gen.The uniforms were different but the faces were the same: narrow and stern with a hint of cruelty in the eyes.stern look/voice/expression etcHe spoke in a stern voice, nodding to-wards the stairs.From within the universities there were stern voices of anti-vocationalism and resistance to public demands for responsiveness, strengthening the impression.The Soviet boy stands straight, and salutes us with a stern expression on his face.A stern voice spoke of the significance of this moment, the victorious Allied forces coming together in Berlin.
Related topics: Water
sternstern2 noun [countable usually singular]  TTWthe back of a shipbow
Examples from the Corpus
sternThere was a mass of shipping in the port, small skiffs, boats, the huge heavy-bottomed sterns of Hanseatic merchantmen.Marina was sat in the stern, the wind moving her hair as she looked out over the water.The boy had backed out of the stern.The waves which lapped over the stern of the raft were our waste-disposal system.Water Gypsy shuddered from bow to stern.
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