Meaning of “severe” in the English Dictionary

"severe" in English

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uk /sɪˈvɪər/ us /səˈvɪr/

severe adjective (VERY SERIOUS)

B2 causing very great pain, difficulty, worry, damage, etc.; very serious:

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.

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(Definition of “severe” from the Cambridge Advanced Learner’s Dictionary & Thesaurus © Cambridge University Press)

"severe" in American English

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us /səˈvɪr/

severe adjective (VERY SERIOUS)

causing great pain, difficulty, damage, etc.; very serious:

a severe earthquake
The family faced severe challenges when he lost his job.

severe adjective (NOT KIND)

not kind or sympathetic; harsh:

severe criticism

(Definition of “severe” from the Cambridge Academic Content Dictionary © Cambridge University Press)

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I am thinking, for example, of the very severe criticism of the system of preferences or the system of special and differential treatment.
The second report was published recently and goes into more depth as regards the lack of education and training, the severe limits in terms of cultural production, technology and research.
A policy that does not withhold criticism, however severe it may be, but one that also sounds out and exploits constructive ideas.
Results are mediocre, growth is weak, domestic demand is running out of steam and unemployment is severe, whilst inequality and poverty are on the rise.
We must address the underlying causes of this criminality: the severe shortage of organs available for transplant, which is due in no small part to a lack of public information.
Malnutrition is generally more severe.
I strongly believe there should be common rules for penalties with those guilty facing a minimum prison sentence of six years rising to ten years for more severe cases.
The result is that, in the end, measures which appear severe have to be taken because the checks do not ensure guarantees or safety in any way.
However, the legacy of the years when materials were simply dumped remains and has sometimes returned to haunt us, often with very severe consequences.
I will be severe from now on.

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