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From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)

 Se·vere a. [Compar. Severer superl. Severest.]
 1. Serious in feeling or manner; sedate; grave; austere; not light, lively, or cheerful.
 Your looks alter, as your subject does,
 From kind to fierce, from wanton to severe.   --Waller.
 2. Very strict in judgment, discipline, or government; harsh; not mild or indulgent; rigorous; as, severe criticism; severe punishment. “Custody severe.”
    Come! you are too severe a moraler.   --Shak.
    Let your zeal, if it must be expressed in anger, be always more severe against thyself than against others.   --Jer. Taylor.
 3. Rigidly methodical, or adherent to rule or principle; exactly conformed to a standard; not allowing or employing unneccessary ornament, amplification, etc.; strict; -- said of style, argument, etc. “Restrained by reason and severe principles.”
    The Latin, a most severe and compendious language.   --Dryden.
 4. Sharp; afflictive; distressing; violent; extreme; as, severe pain, anguish, fortune; severe cold.
 5. Difficult to be endured; exact; critical; rigorous; as, a severe test.
 Syn: -- Strict; grave; austere; stern; morose; rigid; exact; rigorous; hard; rough; harsh; censorious; tart; acrimonious; sarcastic; satirical; cutting; biting; keen; bitter; cruel. See Strict.
 -- Se*vere*ly, adv. -- Se*vere*ness, n.