Meaning of “severe” in the English Dictionary

"severe" in British 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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