AskDefine | Define austere

Dictionary Definition

austere adj
1 severely simple; "a stark interior" [syn: severe, stark]
2 of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor; forbidding in aspect; "an austere expression"; "a stern face" [syn: stern]
3 practicing great self-denial; "Be systematically for no other reason than that you would rather not do it"- William James; "a desert nomad's austere life"; "a spartan diet"; "a spartan existence" [syn: ascetic, ascetical, spartan]

User Contributed Dictionary



From , from austerus, from αὐστηρός, especially “‘making the tongue dry’” (originally used of fruits, wines), related to αὔω, αὖος.


  • a RP: /ɒstɪə(ɹ)/ or /ɔːstɪə(ɹ)/
  • a US: /ɔˈstijɹ/
  • Rhymes with: -ɪə(r)


  1. grim or severe in manner or appearance; stern; strict
  2. lacking trivial decoration; not extravagant or gaudy
    The interior of the church was as austere as the parishioners were dour.

Derived terms


grim, stern, strict
  • Dutch: streng, droog
not exravagant
  • Dutch: sober, karig



austere p

Extensive Definition

Austerity can refer to
  1. A condition in economics -- see Austerity.
  2. A condition of asceticism in religious or ethical matters.
An austere period may be referred to as The Austerity -- usually it is obvious because of context to which country and time period it refers, examples:
Austere (noun) may also refer to:

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Albigensian, Catharist, Franciscan, Lenten, Sabbatarian, Spartan, Spartanic, Trappist, Waldensian, abstemious, abstinent, amaroidal, anchoritic, ascetic, astringent, authoritarian, bald, bare, basic, biting, bitter, bleak, candid, chaste, common, commonplace, demanding, direct, dour, dry, dull, dwarfed, dwarfish, earnest, elementary, eremitic, essential, exacting, exigent, exiguous, flagellant, frank, frugal, fundamental, grave, grim, hard, harsh, homely, homespun, homogeneous, impoverished, inclement, indivisible, inornate, irreducible, jejune, keen, lean, limited, matter-of-fact, meager, mean, mendicant, mere, meticulous, miserly, monolithic, mortified, narrow, natural, neat, niggardly, of a piece, open, paltry, parsimonious, plain, plain-speaking, plain-spoken, poor, primal, primary, prosaic, prosing, prosy, puny, pure, pure and simple, puritanical, rigoristic, rough, rugged, rustic, scant, scanty, scrawny, scrimp, scrimpy, self-denying, serious, severe, sharp, simon-pure, simple, simple-speaking, single, skimp, skimpy, slender, slight, slim, small, sober, somber, spare, sparing, stark, starvation, stern, stingy, stinted, straightforward, straitened, strict, stringent, stunted, subsistence, thin, tough, unadorned, unaffected, uncluttered, undecorated, undifferenced, undifferentiated, unelaborate, unembellished, unfancy, unfussy, ungentle, uniform, unimaginative, unnourishing, unnutritious, unornamented, unornate, unpoetical, unsparing, unvarnished, watered, watery, wedded to poverty
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