adj. stark·er, stark·est
1. Clearly distinguished or delineated: a stark contrast.
a. Bare, desolate, or unadorned: an apartment with stark white walls; the stark beauty of the desert landscape.
b. Severe or unmitigated; harsh or grim: "[They] found it hard to accept such a stark portrait of unrelieved failure" (W. Bruce Lincoln).
3. Complete or utter; extreme: stark disbelief.
Utterly; entirely: stark raving mad.
[Middle English, stiff, severe, strong, from Old English stearc; see ster-1 in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2020 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.