Definition for SE'VERE

SE'VERE, a. [Fr. from L. severus; It. and Sp. severo.]

  1. Rigid; harsh; not mild or indulgent; as, severe words; severe treatment; severe wrath. – Milton. Pope.
  2. Sharp; hard; rigorous. Let your zeal … be more severe against thyself than against others. – Taylor.
  3. Very strict; or sometimes perhaps, unreasonably strict or exact; giving no indulgence to faults or errors; as, severe government; severe criticism.
  4. Rigorous, perhaps cruel; as, severe punishment; severe justice.
  5. Grave; sober; sedate to an extreme; opposed to cheerful, gay, light, lively. Your looks must alter, as your subject does, / From kind to fierce, from wanton to severe. – Waller.
  6. Rigidly exact; strictly methodical; not lax or airy. I will not venture on so nice a subject with my severe style.
  7. Sharp; afflictive; distressing; violent; as, severe pain, anguish, torture, &c.
  8. Sharp; biting; extreme; as, severe cold.
  9. Close; concise; not luxuriant. The Latin, a most severe and compendious language. – Dryden.
  10. Exact; critical; nice; as, a severe test.

Return to page 101 of the letter “S”.