Definition of stark adjective from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary



    BrE BrE//stɑːk//
    ; NAmE NAmE//stɑːrk//
    (starker, starkest)
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  1. 1(often disapproving) looking severe and without any colour or decoration I think white would be too stark for the bedroom. The hills stood stark against the winter sky.
  2. 2unpleasant; real, and impossible to avoid synonym bleak The author paints a stark picture of life in a prison camp. a stark choice The remains of the building stand as a stark reminder of the fire. He now faces the stark reality of life in prison. The stark fact is that even with more time, we still couldn’t raise enough money. Synonymsplainsimple stark bare unequivocal These words all describe statements, often about something unpleasant, that are very clear, not trying to hide anything, and not using more words than necessary.plain used for talking about a fact that other people may not like to hear; honest and direct in way that other people may not like:The plain fact is that nobody really knows.simple [only before noun] used for talking about a fact that other people may not like to hear; very obvious and not complicated by anything else:The simple truth is that we just can’t afford it.plain or simple?When it is being used to emphasize facts that other people may not like to hear, plain is usually used in the expression the plain fact/​truth is that… Simple can be used in this way too, but it can also be used in a wider variety of structures and collocations (such as reason and matter):The problem was due to the simple fact that… The problem was due to the plain fact that… for the plain reason that… It’s a plain matter of… Expressions with simple often suggest impatience with other people’s behaviour.stark (rather formal) used for describing an unpleasant fact or difference that is very obvious:The stark truth is that there is not enough money left. The simple/​plain truth may be something that some people do not want to hear, but it may be good for them to hear it anyway. The stark truth is something particularly unpleasant and has no good side to it at all.bare [only before noun] the most basic or simple, with nothing extra:She gave me only the bare facts of the case.unequivocal (formal) expressing your opinion or intention very clearly and firmly:The reply was an unequivocal ‘no’.Patterns the plain/​simple/​stark/​bare/​unequivocal truth a(n) plain/​simple/​stark/​bare/​unequivocal fact/​statement a(n) plain/​simple/​unequivocal answer
  3. 3very different to something in a way that is easy to see synonym clear stark differences Social divisions in the city are stark. The good weather was in stark contrast to the storms of previous weeks.
  4. 4[only before noun] complete and total synonym utter The children watched in stark terror.
  5. Word OriginOld English stearc ‘unyielding, severe’, of Germanic origin; related to Dutch sterk and German stark ‘strong’.Extra examples The corridors were stark and uncarpeted. The décor was rather stark for my taste. The government faced a stark choice between civil war and martial law. The stark truth is that there is not enough money left.
See the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary entry: stark