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stern 1 (stûrn)
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adj. stern·er, stern·est
1. Hard, harsh, or severe in manner or character: a stern disciplinarian. See Synonyms at severe.
2. Showing or expressing displeasure or disapproval; forbidding or harsh: a stern face; a stern voice.
3. Firm or unyielding; uncompromising: stern resistance.
4. Difficult to endure; oppressive: stern necessity.

[Middle English sterne, from Old English styrne; see ster-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

sternly adv.
sternness n.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
stern 2 (stûrn)
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n.
1. Nautical The rear part of a ship or boat.
2. A rear part or section.

[Middle English sterne, perhaps of Scandinavian origin; akin to Old Norse stjōrn, rudder; see stā- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Stern (stûrn), Isaac 1920-2001.
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Ukrainian-born American violinist renowned for his beautiful tone.
(click for a larger image)
Isaac Stern

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 
Stern, Otto 1888-1969.
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German-born American physicist. He won a 1943 Nobel Prize for detecting the magnetic movements of atomic particles.

The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2017 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
 

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