Stern \Stern\, n. [Icel. stj[=o]rn a steering, or a doubtful AS. ste['o]rn. [root]166. See {Steer}, v. t.] 1. The helm or tiller of a vessel or boat; also, the rudder. [Obs.] --Chaucer. [1913 Webster] 2. (Naut.) The after or rear end of a ship or other vessel, or of a boat; the part opposite to the stem, or prow. [1913 Webster] 3. Fig.: The post of management or direction. [1913 Webster] And sit chiefest stern of public weal. --Shak. [1913 Webster] 4. The hinder part of anything. --Spenser. [1913 Webster] 5. The tail of an animal; -- now used only of the tail of a dog. [1913 Webster] {By the stern}. (Naut.) See {By the head}, under {By}. [1913 Webster]