Etymology
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stern (adj.)

Old English styrne "severe, strict, grave, hard, cruel," from Proto-Germanic *sternjaz (source also of Middle High German sterre, German starr "stiff," störrig "obstinate;" Gothic andstaurran "to be stiff;" Old Norse stara; Old English starian "to look or gaze upon"), from PIE root *ster- (1) "stiff." Related: Sternly; sternness.

stern (n.)

early 13c., "hind part of a ship; steering gear of a ship," probably from a Scandinavian source, such as Old Norse stjorn "a steering," related to or derived from styra "to guide" (see steer (v.)). Or the word may come from Old Frisian stiarne "rudder," which also is related to steer (v.). Stern-wheeler as a type of steam-boat is from 1855, American English.

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Definitions of stern
1
stern (adj.)
of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor; forbidding in aspect;
a stern face
Synonyms: austere
stern (adj.)
not to be placated or appeased or moved by entreaty;
the stern demands of parenthood
stern (adj.)
severe and unremitting in making demands;
a stern disciplinarian
Synonyms: strict / exacting
stern (adj.)
severely simple;
Synonyms: austere / severe / stark
2
stern (n.)
the rear part of a ship;
Synonyms: after part / quarter / poop / tail
stern (n.)
the fleshy part of the human body that you sit on;
Synonyms: buttocks / nates / arse / butt / backside / bum / buns / can / fundament / hindquarters / hind end / keister / posterior / prat / rear / rear end / rump / seat / tail / tail end / tooshie / tush / bottom / behind / derriere / fanny / ass
3
Stern (n.)
United States concert violinist (born in Russia in 1920);
Synonyms: Isaac Stern
From wordnet.princeton.edu