From King Dictionary of Contemporary Englishseverese‧vere /səˈvɪə $ -ˈvɪr/ ●●● S3 W3 adjective 1 SERIOUS SITUATIONvery serious severe problems, injuries, illnesses etc are very bad or very serious His injuries were quite severe. She’s suffering from severe depression. The US faces severe economic problems. The storm caused severe damage.see thesaurus at bad, seriousRegisterIn everyday English, people usually say an injury, a problem etc is serious rather than severe:His injuries were quite serious.2 weather severe weather is very bad and very extreme, and very hot, dry, cold etc3 EXTREMEpunishment a severe punishment is very strict or extreme Drug smugglers can expect severe penalties.4 criticism severe criticism is very extreme and shows that you think someone has done something very badly The president came under severe criticism for his handling of the crisis.5 difficult very difficult and needing a lot of effort and skill The negotiations will be a severe test of his abilities. 6 UNFRIENDLYperson someone who is severe behaves in a way that does not seem friendly or sympathetic, and is very strict or disapproving SYN stern His slightly severe expression softened.7 SIMPLE/PLAINplain very plain with little or no decoration a rather severe red-brick buildingseverity /səˈverəti/ noun [countable, uncountable] We didn’t realize the severity of her illness.COLLOCATIONSnounssevere damageThe blast caused severe damage to the surrounding buildings.severe problems/difficultiesThe clothing industry has experienced severe problems in recent years.a severe injury/illnessShe had suffered severe head injuries.severe painHe was in severe pain and unable to call for help.severe depressionHe suffered from severe depression when he was younger.a severe case (=of a medical condition)Hospitalization is necessary in severe cases.a severe blow (=an event that has a very bad effect)The closure of the mine was a severe blow to the country’s economy.
Examples from the Corpus
severeMany people feel the punishment should have been more severe.She wore a severe black dress and no make-up.More severe cases require identification of the bacterial types involved and selection of a specific antibacterial product.Even those that survive are given a severe check and often produce poor growth.The organization has been the subject of severe criticism for the way it treated its staff.In any case, as soon as the story begins, the hero is projected into severe dangers.Murayama leaves his successors a host of severe domestic problems.severe economic problemsThe victims suffered severe head injuries in the accident.severe painThere are very severe penalties for drug dealing.Severe penalties will be imposed for late payment.But a hint of how severe the cuts could be came in a recent memorandum from library budget planners.A nearly stationary weather front encouraged severe thunderstorms to repeatedly form in the same places Monday night.The weather station issued a warning for severe thunderstorms.The sudden onset of severe weather conditions was thought to be a frequent result of disturbance to a site.
Origin severe (1500-1600) French sévère, from Latin severus