Synonyms of severe in English:

severe


See US English definition of severe

See UK English definition of severe

See Spanish definition of severo

adjective

1‘severe shortages of basic foodstuffs’

SYNONYMS
acute, very bad, serious, grave, critical, dire, drastic, grievous, extreme, dreadful, terrible, awful, frightful, appalling, sore
alarming, worrying, distressing, dangerous, perilous, life-threatening
Medicine peracute, profound
archaic, humorous parlous
ANTONYMS

minor, negligible

2‘the severe storms which battered Orkney this year’

SYNONYMS
fierce, violent, strong, wild, powerful, forceful, intense
tempestuous, turbulent, tumultuous
ANTONYMS

gentle

3‘it was an exceptionally severe winter’

SYNONYMS
harsh, hard, bitter, bitterly cold, cold, bleak, freezing, icy, arctic, polar, Siberian, extreme, nasty
ANTONYMS

mild

4‘Maria complained of a severe headache’

SYNONYMS
excruciating, agonizing, violent, intense, dreadful, awful, terrible, frightful, unbearable, intolerable, unendurable
stabbing, shooting
informal splitting, thumping, pounding
ANTONYMS

slight

5‘their traumatic experiences meant that the further five-mile walk would be a severe test of their remaining stamina’

SYNONYMS
very difficult, demanding, hard, tough, arduous, formidable, taxing, exacting, rigorous, punishing, onerous, gruelling, burdensome, heavy
back-breaking, uphill, stiff
ANTONYMS

easy, simple

6‘the government's economic policies came in for severe criticism’

SYNONYMS
harsh, scathing, sharp, strong, fierce, ferocious, stringent, savage, blistering, searing, stinging, scorching, devastating, mordant, trenchant, caustic, biting, cutting, withering, rigorous, unsparing
smart, sound
ANTONYMS

mild

7‘a campaign against severe tax penalties’

SYNONYMS
extortionate, excessive, unreasonable, inordinate, outrageous, sky-high, harsh, stiff
punitive, punishing, penal
British swingeing

8‘army service offered poor living conditions, low pay, and severe discipline’

SYNONYMS
strict, stern, rigorous, harsh, hard, inflexible, uncompromising, inexorable, implacable, rigid, unbending, relentless, unrelenting, unyielding, merciless, pitiless, ruthless, draconian, oppressive, repressive, punitive, rough, nasty
tyrannical, iron-fisted, iron-handed, brutal, inhuman, cruel, savage
Australian, New Zealand informal solid
ANTONYMS

lenient, lax

9‘his severe expression softened’

SYNONYMS
stern, dour, grim, grim-faced, forbidding, disapproving, tight-lipped, unsmiling, unfriendly, sombre, grave, sober, serious, austere, stiff, flinty, stony, steely, glowering, frowning
cold, aloof, frosty, icy, frigid
ANTONYMS

genial, friendly

10‘the severe style of early Classical Greek architecture’

SYNONYMS
plain, simple, restrained, unadorned, undecorated, unembellished, unornamented, austere, chaste, spare, stark, ultra-plain, unfussy, without frills, spartan, ascetic, monastic, puritanical
functional, clinical, uncluttered
classic
ANTONYMS

ornate, fancy