Definition of sternly in US English:



  • 1In a serious and severe manner, especially when asserting authority or exercising discipline.

    ‘he sternly warned me to not do anything stupid’
    ‘the government will deal sternly with illegal strikes’
    • ‘Michael said sternly, "I'll give them five more minutes."’
    • ‘The butler sternly points her to the back door.’
    • ‘You are better off dealing sternly with problem employees than continuing to bear the pain.’
    • ‘They stopped a young man on the road and sternly repeated their warning.’
    • ‘He told prosecutors he was disturbed by the accusations and sternly demanded an explanation.’
    1. 1.1 In a way that is difficult and puts extreme pressure on someone or something.
      ‘a fight had ensued, which sternly tested my peace-making skills’
      ‘being sternly challenged came with the territory as defending champions’
      • ‘The breakdowns which have been reported will be sternly investigated.’
      • ‘The subject matter seems unlikely to appeal to the party's sternly conservative grass roots.’
      • ‘His symphony is patchy in both structure and content but its sentiments are held sternly in check.’
      • ‘His method yields a collection more sternly systematic than Smith's.’
      • ‘They should be sternly tried by human conscience for having slandered us with all sorts of lies and plots.’