Pronunciation: (su-vēr'), [key]
—adj., -ver•er, -ver•est.
1. harsh; unnecessarily extreme: severe criticism; severe laws.
2. serious or stern in manner or appearance: a severe face.
3. grave; critical: a severe illness.
4. rigidly restrained in style, taste, manner, etc.; simple, plain, or austere.
5. causing discomfort or distress by extreme character or conditions, as weather, cold, or heat; unpleasantly violent, as rain or wind, or a blow or shock.
6. difficult to endure, perform, fulfill, etc.: a severe test of his powers.
7. rigidly exact, accurate, or methodical: severe standards.
Random House Unabridged Dictionary, Copyright © 1997, by Random House, Inc., on Infoplease.