What does stern mean?

Definitions for stern

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word stern.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. stern, after part, quarter, poop, tailnoun

    the rear part of a ship

  2. Stern, Isaac Sternnoun

    United States concert violinist (born in Russia in 1920)

  3. buttocks, nates, arse, butt, backside, bum, buns, can, fundament, hindquarters, hind end, keister, posterior, prat, rear, rear end, rump, stern, seat, tail, tail end, tooshie, tush, bottom, behind, derriere, fanny, assadjective

    the fleshy part of the human body that you sit on

    "he deserves a good kick in the butt"; "are you going to sit on your fanny and do nothing?"

  4. austere, sternadjective

    of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor; forbidding in aspect

    "an austere expression"; "a stern face"

  5. grim, inexorable, relentless, stern, unappeasable, unforgiving, unrelentingadjective

    not to be placated or appeased or moved by entreaty

    "grim determination"; "grim necessity"; "Russia's final hour, it seemed, approached with inexorable certainty"; "relentless persecution"; "the stern demands of parenthood"

  6. stern, strict, exactingadjective

    severe and unremitting in making demands

    "an exacting instructor"; "a stern disciplinarian"; "strict standards"

  7. austere, severe, stark, sternadjective

    severely simple

    "a stark interior"


  1. sternnoun

    The rear part or after end of a ship or vessel.

  2. Etymology: From stern, sterne, sturne, from styrne, from sturnijaz, from ster-. Cognate with stern, stornen, stuurs, stursk.

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. STERNadjective

    Etymology: styrn , Saxon.

    Why look you still so stern and tragical. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    I would outstare the sternest eyes that look,
    Outbrave the heart most daring on the earth,
    Pluck the young sucking cubs from the she-bear,
    Yea, mock the lion when he roars for prey,
    To win thee, lady. William Shakespeare, Merchant of Venice.

    It shall not be amiss here to present the stern but lively countenance of this so famous a man. Richard Knolles, Hist. of the Turks.

    Gods and men
    Fear’d her stern frown, and she was queen o’ th’ woods. John Milton.

    My sometime general,
    I’ve seen thee stern, and thou hast oft beheld
    Heart-hard’ning spectacles. William Shakespeare, Coriolanus.

    Women are soft, mild, pitiful, and flexible;
    Thou stern, obdurate, flinty, rough, remorseless. William Shakespeare.

    The common executioner,
    Whose heart th’ accustom’d sight of death makes hard,
    Falls not the ax upon the humbled neck,
    But first begs pardon: will you sterner be
    Than he that deals and lives by bloody drops? William Shakespeare.

    Did this in Cæsar seem ambitious?
    When that the poor have cry’d, Cæsar hath wept;
    Ambition should be made of sterner stuff. William Shakespeare, Jul. Cæs.

    Then shall the war, and stern debate and strife
    Immortal, be the bus’ness of my life;
    And in thy fane the dusty spoils among,
    High on the burnish’d roof, my banner shall be hung. Dryd.

    How stern as tutors, and as uncles hard,
    We lash the pupil and defraud the ward. John Dryden, Pers.

    If wolves had at thy gate howl’d that stern time,
    Thou shouldst have said, Go, porter, turn the key,
    All cruels else subscrib’d. William Shakespeare, King Lear.

  2. Sternnoun

    Etymology: steor , Saxon. Of the same original with steer.

    Let a barbarous Indian, who had never seen a ship, view the separate and disjointed parts, as the prow and stern, the ribs, masts, ropes, and shrouds, he would form but a very lame idea of it. Isaac Watts, Improvement of the Mind.

    They turn their heads to sea, their sterns to land. Dryd.

    The king from Eltam I intend to send,
    And sit at chiefest stern of publick weal. William Shakespeare, H. VI.

    She all at once her beastly body raised,
    With doubled forces high above the ground,
    Though wrapping up her wreathed stern around. Fa. Queen.


  1. stern

    The stern is the back or aft-most part of a ship or boat. It is technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter rail to the taffrail. It could also refer to showing serious or severe nature or demeanor.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Sternnoun

    the black tern

  2. Stern

    having a certain hardness or severity of nature, manner, or aspect; hard; severe; rigid; rigorous; austere; fixed; unchanging; unrelenting; hence, serious; resolute; harsh; as, a sternresolve; a stern necessity; a stern heart; a stern gaze; a stern decree

  3. Sternverb

    the helm or tiller of a vessel or boat; also, the rudder

  4. Sternverb

    the after or rear end of a ship or other vessel, or of a boat; the part opposite to the stem, or prow

  5. Sternverb

    fig.: The post of management or direction

  6. Sternverb

    the hinder part of anything

  7. Sternverb

    the tail of an animal; -- now used only of the tail of a dog

  8. Sternadjective

    being in the stern, or being astern; as, the stern davits

  9. Etymology: [Icel. stjrn a steering, or a doubtful AS. stern. 166. See Steer, v. t.]


  1. Stern

    The stern is the rear or aft-most part of a ship or boat, technically defined as the area built up over the sternpost, extending upwards from the counter rail to the taffrail. The stern lies opposite of the bow, the foremost part of a ship. Originally, the term only referred to the aft port section of the ship, but eventually came to refer to the entire back of a vessel. The stern end of a ship is indicated with a white navigation light at night. Sterns on European and American wooden sailing ships began with two principal forms: the square or transom stern and the elliptical, fantail, or merchant stern, and were developed in that order. The hull sections of a sailing ship located before the stern are composed of a series of U-shaped rib-like frames set in a sloped or "cant" arrangement, with the last frame before the stern being called the fashion timber or fashion piece, so called for "fashioning" the after part of the ship. This frame is designed to support the various beams that make up the stern. In 1817 the British naval architect Sir Robert Seppings first introduced the concept of the round or circular stern. The square stern had been an easy target for enemy cannon, and could not support the weight of heavy stern chase guns. But Seppings' design left the rudder head exposed, and was regarded by many as simply ugly—no American warships were designed with such sterns, and the round stern was quickly superseded by the elliptical stern. The United States began building the first elliptical stern warship in 1820, a decade before the British. The USS Brandywine became the first sailing ship to sport such a stern. Though a great improvement over the transom stern in terms of its vulnerability to attack when under fire, elliptical sterns still had obvious weaknesses which the next major stern development—the iron-hulled cruiser stern—addressed far better and with much different materials.

Chambers 20th Century Dictionary

  1. Stern

    stėrn, adj. severe of countenance, manner, or feeling: austere: harsh: unrelenting: steadfast.—adv. Stern′ly.—n. Stern′ness. [A.S. styrne.]

  2. Stern

    stėrn, n. the hind-part of a vessel: the rump or tail of an animal.—v.t. to back a boat, to row backward.—ns. Stern′age (Shak.), the steerage or stern of a ship; Stern′board, backward motion of a ship: loss of way in tacking; Stern′-chase, a chase in which one ship follows directly in the wake of another; Stern′-chās′er, a cannon in the stern of a ship.—adj. Sterned, having a stern of a specified kind.—ns. Stern′-fast, a rope or chain for making fast a ship's stern to a wharf, &c.; Stern′-frame, the sternpost, transoms, and fashion-pieces of a ship's stern.—adj. Stern′most, farthest astern.—ns. Stern′port, a port or opening in the stern of a ship; Stern′post, the aftermost timber of a ship which supports the rudder; Stern′sheets, the part of a boat between the stern and the rowers; Stern′son, the hinder extremity of a ship's keelson, to which the sternpost is bolted; Stern′way, the backward motion of a vessel; Stern′-wheel′er (U.S.), a small vessel with one large paddle-wheel at the stern. [Ice. stjórn, a steering.]

Dictionary of Nautical Terms

  1. stern

    The after-part of a ship, ending in the taffarel above and the counters below.--By the stern. The condition of a vessel which draws more water abaft than forward.

Biographical Dictionary of Freethinkers

  1. Stern

    (J)., Rabbiner, German writer, born of Jewish parents, Liederstetten (Wurtemburg), his father being Rabbi of the town. In ’58 he went to the Talmud High School, Presburg and studied the Kabbalah, which he intended to translate into German. To do this he studied Spinoza, whose philosophy converted him. In ’63 he graduated at Stuttgart. He founded a society, to which he gave discourses collected in his first book, Gottesflamme, ’72. His Old and New Faith Among the Jews, ’78, was much attacked by the orthodox Jews. In Women in the Talmud, ’79, he pleaded for mixed marriages. He has also written Jesus as a Jewish Reformer, The Egyptian Religion and Positivism, and Is the Pentateuch by Moses? In ’81 he went to live at Stuttgart, where he has translated Spinoza’s Ethics, and is engaged on a history of Spinozism.

Surnames Frequency by Census Records

  1. STERN

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau, Stern is ranked #1418 in terms of the most common surnames in America.

    The Stern surname appeared 25,074 times in the 2010 census and if you were to sample 100,000 people in the United States, approximately 9 would have the surname Stern.

    93.6% or 23,492 total occurrences were White.
    2.2% or 552 total occurrences were Black.
    2.1% or 529 total occurrences were of Hispanic origin.
    1.1% or 291 total occurrences were of two or more races.
    0.6% or 168 total occurrences were Asian.
    0.1% or 45 total occurrences were American Indian or Alaskan Native.

Matched Categories

How to pronounce stern?

How to say stern in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of stern in Chaldean Numerology is: 1

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of stern in Pythagorean Numerology is: 4

Examples of stern in a Sentence

  1. Julie Wareham:

    I just remember him reassuring the family members of people that are cut from stem to stern when they do those coronary bypass surgeries, and just reassuring the family and how soft-spoken he was.

  2. Teresa of Ávila:

    Be gentle to all, and stern with yourself.

  3. Letitia Elizabeth Landon:

    Life has one vast stern likeness in its gloom

  4. James Judge:

    We had a group of people that were on the ground we had identified that wanted to get out, especially if things went sideways, bryan Stern, who is on our team, could feel the explosions in Kyiv and said, ‘Alright, we need to go, we need to get out of here.’.

  5. Howard Stern:

    I’ve got to stick up for radio guys, Stern said, because, number one, you’re on the air and it’s not like there’s a script, but for Goddsakes, Stern added, Tom Brady should know better. If you’re going to put your young child on a TV show, on the Internet, you’re putting her out there for comment.

Popularity rank by frequency of use


Translations for stern

From our Multilingual Translation Dictionary

Get even more translations for stern »


Find a translation for the stern definition in other languages:

Select another language:

  • - Select -
  • 简体中文 (Chinese - Simplified)
  • 繁體中文 (Chinese - Traditional)
  • Español (Spanish)
  • Esperanto (Esperanto)
  • 日本語 (Japanese)
  • Português (Portuguese)
  • Deutsch (German)
  • العربية (Arabic)
  • Français (French)
  • Русский (Russian)
  • ಕನ್ನಡ (Kannada)
  • 한국어 (Korean)
  • עברית (Hebrew)
  • Gaeilge (Irish)
  • Українська (Ukrainian)
  • اردو (Urdu)
  • Magyar (Hungarian)
  • मानक हिन्दी (Hindi)
  • Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Italiano (Italian)
  • தமிழ் (Tamil)
  • Türkçe (Turkish)
  • తెలుగు (Telugu)
  • ภาษาไทย (Thai)
  • Tiếng Việt (Vietnamese)
  • Čeština (Czech)
  • Polski (Polish)
  • Bahasa Indonesia (Indonesian)
  • Românește (Romanian)
  • Nederlands (Dutch)
  • Ελληνικά (Greek)
  • Latinum (Latin)
  • Svenska (Swedish)
  • Dansk (Danish)
  • Suomi (Finnish)
  • فارسی (Persian)
  • ייִדיש (Yiddish)
  • հայերեն (Armenian)
  • Norsk (Norwegian)
  • English (English)

Word of the Day

Would you like us to send you a FREE new word definition delivered to your inbox daily?

Please enter your email address:


Use the citation below to add this definition to your bibliography:


"stern." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 3 Mar. 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/stern>.

Discuss these stern definitions with the community:

1 Comment
  • Adonira Claudino
    Adonira Claudino
    so nice, i understand "stern" means a butt's person or end part of body's someone. like "her stern is full" that mean she has a big butt.
    LikeReply5 years ago

Are we missing a good definition for stern? Don't keep it to yourself...

Image or illustration of


Credit »

Free, no signup required:

Add to Chrome

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

Free, no signup required:

Add to Firefox

Get instant definitions for any word that hits you anywhere on the web!

Browse Definitions.net


Are you a words master?

lack of respect accompanied by a feeling of intense dislike
  • A. germ
  • B. contempt
  • C. sheath
  • D. muddle

Nearby & related entries:

Alternative searches for stern: