Definition of sternly adverb from the Oxford Advanced Learner's Dictionary

     

    sternly

     adverb
    adverb
    BrE BrE//ˈstɜːnli//
     
    ; NAmE NAmE//ˈstɜːrnli//
     
     
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  1. 1in a serious and often disapproving way; in a way that shows you expect somebody to obey you ‘This’, she said sternly, ‘is what we believe.’ a sternly worded letter
  2. 2in a serious and difficult way They were sternly tested by the opposing team.