Stern (?), n. [AS. stearn a kind of bird. See Starling.] Zool.

The black tern.


© Webster 1913.

Stern, a. [Compar. Sterner (?); superl. Sternest.] [OE. sterne, sturne, AS. styrne; cf. D. stuurish stern, Sw. stursk refractory. 166.]

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.

The sterne wind so loud gan to rout.

I would outstare the sternest eyes that look.

When that the poor have cried, Caesar hath wept;
Ambition should be made of sterner stuff.

Stern as tutors, and as uncles hard.

These barren rocks, your stern inheritance.

Syn. -- Gloomy; sullen; forbidding; strict; unkind; hard-hearted; unfeeling; cruel; pitiless.


© Webster 1913.

Stern, n. [Icel. stjorn a steering, or a doubtful AS. steorn. 166. See Steer, v. t.]


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



2. Naut.

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


Fig.: The post of management or direction.

And sit chiefest stern of public weal.


The hinder part of anything.



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

By the stern. Naut. See By the head, under By.


© Webster 1913.

Stern, a.

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

Stern board Naut., a going or falling astern; a loss of way in making a tack; as, to make a stern board. See Board, n., 8 (b). -- Stern chase. Naut. (a) See under Chase, n. (b) A stern chaser. -- Stern chaser Naut., a cannon placed in a ship's stern, pointing backward, and intended to annoy a ship that is in pursuit. -- Stern fast Naut., a rope used to confine the stern of a ship or other vessel, as to a wharf or buoy. -- Stern frame Naut., the framework of timber forms the stern of a ship. -- Stern knee. See Sternson. -- Stern port Naut., a port, or opening, in the stern of a ship. -- Stern sheets Naut., that part of an open boat which is between the stern and the aftmost seat of the rowers, -- usually furnished with seats for passengers. -- Stern wheel, a paddle wheel attached to the stern of the steamboat which it propels.<-- thus, stern wheeler. -->


© Webster 1913.

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