Last modified on 4 December 2014, at 13:50


See also: stärk and stærk



Etymology 1Edit

From Middle English stark, starc, from Old English stearc, starc (stiff, obstinate, severe, etc.), 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), Norwegian sterk (strong), Icelandic sterkur (strong). Related to starch.

Modifying naked, an alternation of original start (tail).


stark (comparative starker, superlative starkest)

  1. (obsolete) Hard, firm; obdurate.
  2. Severe; violent; fierce (now usually in describing the weather).
    • 2013 May 11, “The climate of Tibet: Pole-land”, The Economist, volume 407, number 8835, page 80: 
      Of all the transitions brought about on the Earth’s surface by temperature change, the melting of ice into water is the starkest. It is binary. And for the land beneath, the air above and the life around, it changes everything.
  3. (rare) Strong; vigorous; powerful.
    • Sir Walter Scott
      a stark, moss-trooping Scot
    • Beaumont and Fletcher
      Stark beer, boy, stout and strong beer.
  4. Stiff, rigid.
    • Spenser
      Whose senses all were straight benumbed and stark.
    • Shakespeare
      Many a nobleman lies stark and stiff / Under the hoofs of vaunting enemies.
    • Ben Jonson
      The north is not so stark and cold.
  5. Hard in appearance; barren, desolate.
    I picked my way forlornly through the stark, sharp rocks.
  6. Complete, absolute, full.
    I screamed in stark terror.
    A flower was growing, in stark contrast, out of the sidewalk.
    • Ben Jonson
      Consider the stark security / The common wealth is in now.
    • Collier
      He pronounces the citation stark nonsense.
    • Selden
      Rhetoric is very good or stark naught; there's no medium in rhetoric.
Derived termsEdit


stark (not comparable)

  1. starkly; entirely, absolutely
    He's gone stark, staring mad.
    She was just standing there, stark naked.
    • Fuller
      [] held him strangled in his arms till he was stark dead.
    • 1913, Robert Barr, chapter 4, Lord Stranleigh Abroad[1]:
      “… That woman is stark mad, Lord Stranleigh. Her own father recognised it when he bereft her of all power in the great business he founded. …”
Usage notesEdit

In standard modern English, the adverb is essentially restricted to stark naked and phrases meaning "crazy" on the pattern of stark raving mad.


Etymology 2Edit

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


stark (third-person singular simple present starks, present participle starking, simple past and past participle starked)

  1. (obsolete or dialect) To stiffen.
Related termsEdit




From Old High German stark.


  • IPA(key): /ʃtaʁk/, /ʃtaɐ̯k/, /ʃtaːk/
  • (file)
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stark (comparative stärker, superlative am stärksten)

  1. strong, powerful


External linksEdit

Old High GermanEdit


From Proto-Germanic *starkuz, whence also Old English stearc, Old Norse sterkr.



  1. strong

Derived termsEdit




From Old Swedish starker, from Old Norse starkr.



stark (comparative starkare, superlative starkast)

  1. strong; able to use great force
  2. strong; capable of withstanding great physical force
  3. strong; highly stimulating to the senses
    starkt ljus
    strong light
  4. spicy, hot; with a biting taste
  5. strong; having a high concentration of an essential; possibly alcohol
    starkt kaffe
    strong coffee
  6. (grammar) strong
  7. (military) strong; not easily subdued or taken


Related termsEdit


See alsoEdit