Se·ver·i·ty n.; pl. Severities The quality or state of being severe. Specifically: --
(a) Gravity or austerity; extreme strictness; rigor; harshness; as, the severity of a reprimand or a reproof; severity of discipline or government; severity of penalties. “Strict age, and sour severity.”
(b) The quality or power of distressing or paining; extreme degree; extremity; intensity; inclemency; as, the severity of pain or anguish; the severity of cold or heat; the severity of the winter.
(c) Harshness; cruel treatment; sharpness of punishment; as, severity practiced on prisoners of war.
(d) Exactness; rigorousness; strictness; as, the severity of a test.
Confining myself to the severity of truth. --Dryden.