American English

Definition of stark adjective from the Oxford Advanced American Dictionary



    (starker, starkest)
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  1. 1(often disapproving) looking severe and without any color 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. Thesaurusplainsimple stark bare unequivocalThese 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 truth 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 facts of the case proved that she was wrong.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…Expressions with simple often suggest impatience with other people's behavior.stark (somewhat formal) used for describing an unpleasant fact or difference that is very obvious:He had to face the stark reality of the situation. 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 painful to accept.bare [only before noun] the most basic or simple, with nothing extra:She gave me only a bare outline of the plan.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/unequivocal fact/statement a(n) plain/simple/unequivocal answer
  3. 3very different from 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.
    adverb The interior is starkly simple. The lighthouse stood out starkly against the dark sky. We are starkly aware of the risks. These theories contrast starkly with the reality of everyday life.
    noun [uncountable]
See the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary entry: stark