Severity is a plain, no-frills hardness––or the degree of hardness. You might talk about the severity of the northern winter, or the severity of your grandfather's discipline.

Severity, with its root in severe, has several nuances. It can mean a hardship, like war’s severity. It also refers to an extreme plainness. Think of the severity of Amish life: no phones, cars, or other modern technology. And you might use it to describe your math teacher’s manner: his severity is indicated by his short, clipped sentences, angry stare, and propensity to fail students without mercy.

Definitions of severity
  1. noun
    excessive sternness
    severity of character”
    synonyms: austerity, hardness, harshness, inclemency, rigor, rigorousness, rigour, rigourousness, severeness, stiffness
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    type of:
    sternness, strictness
    uncompromising resolution
  2. noun
    extreme plainness
    synonyms: austereness, austerity, severeness
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    type of:
    the appearance of being plain and unpretentious
  3. noun
    something hard to endure
    synonyms: asperity, grimness, hardship, rigor, rigorousness, rigour, rigourousness, severeness
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    the quality (as of scenery) being grim and gloomy and forbidding
    type of:
    difficultness, difficulty
    the quality of being difficult
  4. noun
    used of the degree of something undesirable e.g. pain or weather
    synonyms: badness, severeness
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    foulness, raininess
    (of weather) the badness of the weather
    distressfulness, seriousness
    the quality of arousing fear or distress
    type of:
    intensity, intensiveness
    high level or degree; the property of being intense
Word Family

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