Meaning of “stern” in the English Dictionary

"stern" in British English

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uk /stɜːn/ us /stɝːn/
noun [ U ] uk /ˈstɜːn.nəs/ us /ˈstɝːn.nəs/

sternnoun [ C ]

uk /stɜːn/ us /stɝːn/

the back part of a ship or boat


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

"stern" in American English

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sternadjective [ -er/-est only ]

us /ˈstɜrn/

stern adjective [ -er/-est only ] (SEVERE)


Sterner punishment may produce better behavior, but I doubt it.
adverb us /ˈstɜrn·li/

He sternly reminded his son to drive carefully.

sternnoun [ C ]

us /ˈstɜrn/

stern noun [ C ] (SHIP PART)

the back end of a ship:

A rope over the stern towed the little boat.

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