American Dictionary of the English Language

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SEVE'RE, adjective [Latin severus.]

1. Rigid; harsh; not mild or indulgent; as severe words; severe treatment; severe wrath.

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 on so nice a subject with my severe style.

7. Sharp; afflictive; distressing; violent; as severe pain, anguish, torture, etc.

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 sever test.