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

shampoo

a liquid used for washing hair, or for washing particular objects or materials

Word of the Day

The way we move (Verbs for walking and running)

by Kate Woodford,
March 25, 2015
​​​ This week we’re looking at interesting ways to describe the way that people move. Most of the verbs that we’ll be considering describe how fast or slow people move. Others describe the attitude or state of mind of the person walking or running. Some describe both. Starting with verbs for walking slowly,

Read More 

crossfit noun

March 23, 2015
high-intensity strength training Two women in strappy dresses discussed how much weight they could snatch

Read More