Cambridge Dictionaries online Cambridge Dictionaries online

The most popular online dictionary and thesaurus for learners of English

English definition of “severe”

See all translations

severe

adjective uk   /sɪˈvɪər/ us    /-ˈvɪr/

severe adjective (VERY SERIOUS)

B2 causing very great pain, difficulty, worry, damage, etc.; very serious: a severe chest infection/leg injury/toothache This is a school for children with severe learning difficulties. In parts of Africa there is a severe food/water shortage. There is expected to be a severe frost tonight. Severe cutbacks in public spending have been announced. extreme or very difficult: This will be a severe test of our strength.
More examples

severe adjective (NOT KIND)

B2 not kind or showing sympathy; not willing to accept other people's mistakes or failures: The headteacher spoke in a severe voice. The government is currently facing severe criticism. There are severe penalties for failing to declare all your income to the tax authorities.

severe adjective (PLAIN)

often disapproving completely plain and without decoration: She wore a severe black dress, and plain black shoes. I don't like these severe modern buildings.
(Definition of severe from the Cambridge Advanced Learners Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
What is the pronunciation of severe?
Add Cambridge dictionaries to your browser to your website

Definitions of “severe” in other dictionaries

Word of the Day

luck out

to be very lucky

Word of the Day

Think long and hard; the language of decisions

by Liz Walter,
January 28, 2015
One of the best ways (perhaps the best way) to improve your English is to learn how words go together in phrases, idioms, or other patterns such as verb/noun or adjective/noun pairs (often called ‘collocations’). This blog looks at some useful phrases and collocations connected with the subject of decisions, something we

Read More 

micro pig noun

January 26, 2015
an extremely small pig, bred to be a pet Micro pigs have become popular pets recently, with famous owners including Victoria Beckham, Paris Hilton and Olympic diver, Tom Daley.

Read More