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English definition of “stern”

stern

adjective     /stɜːn/ US  /stɝːn/
C2 severe , or showing disapproval : a stern look / warning / voice She is her own sternest critic . Journalists received a stern warning not to go anywhere near the battleship .Severe If something, such as a job , is stern, it is difficult : The president is facing the sternest test of his authority since he came to power five years ago.Complicated and difficult to doDifficult to understand sternness     /ˈstɜːn.nəs/ US  /ˈstɝːn-/ noun [U] Severe
(Definition of stern adjective from the Cambridge Advanced Learner's Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)
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