Longman Dictionary of Contemporary English homepage

Language: Old English
Origin: styrne

stern

1 adjective
     
stern1
1 serious and strict, and showing strong disapproval of someone's behaviour:
sterner penalties for drug offences
stern 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.
2

be made of sterner stuff

to have a strong character and be more determined than other people to succeed in a difficult situation:
Ann, made of sterner stuff than I, refused all offers of help.
sternly adverb
sternness noun [uncountable]

Dictionary pictures of the day
Do you know what each of these is called?
What is the word for picture 1? What is the word for picture 2? What is the word for picture 3? What is the word for picture 4?
Click on any of the pictures above to find out what it is called.

Explore our topic dictionary