Pronunciation: (su-ver'i-tē),[key] —n., —pl.-ties. 1. harshness, sternness, or rigor: Their lives were marked by severity. 2. austere simplicity, as of style, manner, or taste: The severity of the decor was striking. 3. intensity or sharpness, as of cold or pain.
4. grievousness; hard or trying character or effect: The severity of his loss was finally becoming apparent. 5. rigid exactness or accuracy.
6. an instance of strict or severe behavior, punishment, etc.