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Stern, adj. 1) severe, austere, gloomy, sullen, grim: “the s. and direful god of war,” Ven. 98. “though men can cover crimes with bold s. looks,” Lucr. 1252. “I would outstare the --est eyes that look,” Merch. II, 1, 27. “therefore put I on the countenance of s. commandment,” As II, 7, 109. “the s. brow and waspish action,” IV, 3, 9. “he hath a s. look, but a gentle heart,” John IV, 1, 88. “swearing and s. looks,” H5 V, 2, 61. let thy looks be s. H6A 1, 2, 1, 2 “why look you still so s. and tragical?” III, 1, 125. “Suffolk's imperial tongue is s. and rough,” H6B IV, 1, 121. “our s. alarums changed to merry meetings,” R3 I, 1, 7. “I have seen thee s.” Cor. IV, 1, 24. “the fatal bellman which gives the --est good-night,” Mcb. II, 2, 4.
2) unkind, hard-hearted, pitiless: “but he, like you, would not have been so s.” Meas. II, 2, 66. “pierced through the heart with your s. cruelty,” Mids. III, 2, 59. “will you --er be than he that dies and lives by bloody drops?” As III, 5, 6. “you are cold and s.” All's IV, 2, 8. “s., obdurate, flinty,” H6C I, 4, 142. “that I am s. and love them not,” R3 I, 3, 44. “ambition should be made of --er stuff,” Caes. III, 2, 97. “attend you here the door of our s. daughter?” Cymb. II, 3, 42.
3) fierce and rude; cruel, ferocious: “there we will unfold to creatures s. sad tunes, to change their kinds,” Lucr. 1147. “how many lambs might the s. wolf betray,” Sonn. 96, 9. “we cannot deal but with the very hand of s. injustice and confused wrong,” John V, 2, 23. “teaching s. murder how to butcher thee,” R2 I, 2, 32. the s. tyrant war, H4B Ind. R2 I, 2, 32 “rough deeds of rage and s. impatience,” H6A IV, 7, 8. “thy mother took into her blameful bed some s. untutored churl,” H6B III, 2, 213. “s. Falconbridge commands the narrow seas,” H6C I, 1, 239. “murder, s. murder,” R3 V, 3, 197. “what s. ungentle hands have . . . made thy body bare,” Tit. II, 4, 16. “more s. and bloody than the Centaurs' feast,” V, 2, 204. “lest with this piteous action you convert my s. effects,” Hml. III, 4, 129. “if wolves had at thy gate howled that s. time,” Lr. III, 7, 63.
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