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severe (adj.)

1540s, from French severe (12c., Modern French sévère) or directly from Latin severus "serious, grave, strict, austere," which is probably from PIE root *segh- "to have, hold," on the notion of "steadfastness, toughness." From 1660s with reference to styles or tastes; from 1725 of diseases.

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Definitions of severe from WordNet

severe (adj.)
intensely or extremely bad or unpleasant in degree or quality;
a severe case of flu
severe pain
Synonyms: terrible / wicked
severe (adj.)
very strong or vigorous;
a severe blow
Synonyms: hard / knockout
severe (adj.)
severely simple;
Synonyms: austere / stark / stern
severe (adj.)
unsparing and uncompromising in discipline or judgment; "a parent severe to the pitch of hostility"- H.G.Wells;
a hefty six-footer with a rather severe mien
Synonyms: spartan
severe (adj.)
causing fear or anxiety by threatening great harm;
a severe case of pneumonia
Synonyms: dangerous / grave / grievous / serious / life-threatening
severe (adj.)
very bad in degree or extent;
a severe worldwide depression
the house suffered severe damage
From wordnet.princeton.edu