KJV Dictionary Definition: stern


STERN, a. G., staring; stubborn. See Stare, Starck, Stark, with which this word is probably connected.

1. Severe; austere; fixed with an aspect of severity and authority; as a stern look; a stern countenance; a stern frown.

I would outstare the sternest eyes that look.

2. Severe of manner; rigid; harsh; cruel.

Stern as tutors, and as uncles hard.

Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

3. Hard; afflictive.

If wolves had at thy gate howld that stern time.

4. Rigidly stedfast; immovable.

Stern virtue is the growth of few soils.


1. The hind part of a ship or other vessel, or of a boat; the part opposite to the stern or prow. This part of a ship is terminated by the tafferel above, and by the counters below.

2. Post of management; direction.

An sit at chiefest stern of public weal. Not in use. We now say, to sit at the helm.

3. The hinder part of any thing. Not elegant.

By the stern, is a phrase which denotes that a ship is more deeply laden abaft than forward.


STERNED, a. In compounds, having a stern of a particular shape; as square-sterned; pink-sterned, &c.



1. Severity of look; a look of austerity, rigor or severe authority; as the sternness of ones presence.

2. Severity or harshness of manner; rigor.

I have sternness in my soul enough to hear of soldiers work.