from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • adjective Clearly distinguished or delineated.
  • adjective Bare, desolate, or unadorned.
  • adjective Severe or unmitigated; harsh or grim.
  • adjective Complete or utter; extreme.
  • adverb Utterly; entirely.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • Wholly; entirely; absolutely: used with a few particular adjectives, as stark dead, stark blind, stark drunk, stark mad, stark naked, rarely with other adjectives.
  • To make stark, stiff, or rigid, as in death.
  • Naked; bare.
  • Stiff; rigid, as in death.
  • Stubborn; stiff; severe.
  • Stout; stalwart; strong; powerful.
  • Great; long.
  • Entire; perfect; utter; downright; sheer; pure; mere.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Stiff; rigid.
  • adjective obsolete Complete; absolute; full; perfect; entire.
  • adjective Strong; vigorous; powerful.
  • adjective obsolete Severe; violent; fierce.
  • adjective Mere; sheer; gross; entire; downright.
  • transitive verb rare To stiffen.
  • adverb Wholly; entirely; absolutely; quite.
  • adverb wholly naked; quite bare.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • verb To stiffen.
  • adjective obsolete Hard, firm; obdurate.
  • adjective Severe; violent; fierce (now usually in describing the weather).
  • adjective archaic Strong; vigorous; powerful.
  • adjective Stiff, rigid.
  • adjective Hard in appearance; barren, desolate.
  • adjective Complete, absolute, full.
  • adverb starkly; entirely, absolutely

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • adjective devoid of any qualifications or disguise or adornment
  • adverb completely
  • adjective without qualification; used informally as (often pejorative) intensifiers
  • adjective complete or extreme
  • adjective providing no shelter or sustenance
  • adjective severely simple


from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[Middle English, stiff, severe, strong, from Old English stearc; see ster- in Indo-European roots.]

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English starken, from Old English stearcian ("to stiffen, become hard, grow stiff or hard"), from Proto-Germanic *starkōnan, *starkēnan (“to stiffen, become hard”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)terg- (“rigid, stiff”). Cognate with German erstarken ("to strengthen").

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

From Middle English stark, starc, from Old English stearc, starc ("stiff, rigid, obstinate, stern, severe, hard, harsh, rough, strong, violent, impetuous, not soft, not bending, unyielding, stiff-necked, attended with hardship, vehement, having the mind strengthened, stouthearted, courageous, determined, bold, brave, cruel"), from Proto-Germanic *starkaz, *starkuz (“stiff, strong”), from Proto-Indo-European *(s)terg- (“rigid, stiff”). Cognate with Eastern Frisian sterc ("strong"), Dutch sterk ("strong"), Low German sterk ("strong"), German stark ("strong"), Danish stærk ("strong"), Swedish stark ("strong"), Icelandic sterkur ("strong"). Related to starch.


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  • A contranym: both fullness ("completeness, exemplary") and emptiness ("lacking").

    August 2, 2008