(New American Roget's College Thesaurus)
adj. austerity, serious, earnest; rigorous, trying; harsh, strict; sharp, distressing, extreme. See severity, importance, adversity. Ant., relaxed, laissez-faire.
(Roget's IV) modif.
1. [Stern]
Syn. stern, exacting, uncompromising, unbending, inflexible, unchanging, unalterable, inexorable, harsh, cruel, oppressive, close, grinding, peremptory, obdurate, resolute, austere, rigid, grim, earnest, stiff, forbidding, resolved, relentless, strait-laced, determined, unfeeling, insensate, with an iron will, strict, inconsiderate, firm, immovable, as firm as the Rock of Gibraltar, adamant, unyielding.
Ant. flexible*, yielding, genial.
2. [Difficult or rigorous]
Syn. overbearing, tyrannical, mordant, sharp, exacting, stringent, drastic, domineering, rigid, oppressive, despotic, unmerciful, bullying, uncompromising, obdurate, relentless, unrelenting, hard, rigorous, austere, grinding, ascetic, grim, implacable, cruel, pitiless, critical, unjust, barbarous, censorious, crusty, gruff, crabbed, unmitigated, intractable, stubborn, autocratic, Draconian, with a heart of granite, stony-hearted, hard-shell*, rock-ribbed*, hidebound*; see also difficult 1 .
Ant. easy*, easygoing, indulgent.
Syn.- severe applies to a person or thing that is strict, uncompromising, or restrained and connotes a total absence of softness, laxity, frivolity, etc. [ a severe critic, hairdo, etc. ] and may often imply harshness [severe punishment, a severe tornado ] ; stern implies an unyielding firmness, esp. as manifested in a grim or forbidding aspect or manner [ a stern guardian ] ; austere suggests harsh restraint, self-denial, stark simplicity [ the austere diet of wartime ] , or an absence of warmth, passion, ornamentation, etc. [ an austere bedroom ] ; ascetic implies extreme self-denial and self-discipline or even, sometimes, the deliberate self-infliction of pain and discomfort, as by religious fanatics [ an ascetic hermit ]
(Roget's 3 Superthesaurus) a.
1. harsh stern, strict, hard, *hard-nosed, uncompromising, unsparing, rigid, unfeeling, merciless, pitiless.
2. serious grave, forbidding, stern, unsmiling, grim, austere, cold, stony.
3. grievous serious, acute, violent, nasty, critical, dire, life-threatening, bad, dangerous, fierce, intense, extreme.
4. plain unornamented, spare, bare, stark, austere, undecorated.
ANT.: 1. softhearted, easy, compassionate. 2. light-hearted, smiling, jovial. 3. mild, minor, trivial. 4. ornate, rococo, luxurious
(Roget's Thesaurus II) adjective 1. Rigorous and unsparing in treating others: demanding, exacting, hard, harsh, rigid, stern, strict, tough, unyielding. See EASY. 2. Cold and forbidding: austere, bleak, dour, grim, hard, harsh, stark. See ATTITUDE, HOT. 3. Causing sharp, often prolonged discomfort: bitter, brutal, hard, harsh, rough. See COMFORT. 4. Conveying great physical force: hard, heavy, hefty, powerful. See BIG. 5. Having great consequence or weight: earnest1, grave2, heavy, momentous, serious, weighty. See IMPORTANT. 6. Causing or marked by danger or pain, for example: dangerous, grave2, grievous, serious. See HELP. 7. Requiring great or extreme bodily, mental, or spiritual strength: arduous, backbreaking, burdensome, demanding, difficult, effortful, exacting, exigent, formidable, hard, heavy, laborious, onerous, oppressive, rigorous, rough, taxing, tough, trying, weighty. See HEAVY.

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  • severe — severe, stern, austere, ascetic can all mean given to or characterized by strict discipline and firm restraint. Severe is applicable to persons and their looks, acts, thoughts, and utterances or to things (as laws, penalties, judgments, and… …   New Dictionary of Synonyms

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