adjective as·cet·ic \ə-ˈse-tik, a-\

: relating to or having a strict and simple way of living that avoids physical pleasure

Full Definition of ASCETIC

:  practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline
:  austere in appearance, manner, or attitude
ascetic noun
as·cet·i·cal·ly \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
as·cet·i·cism \-ˈse-tə-ˌsi-zəm\ noun

Variants of ASCETIC

as·cet·ic also as·cet·i·cal \ə-ˈse-ti-kəl\

Examples of ASCETIC

  1. an ascetic diet of rice and beans
  2. Patterson's collection begins on the walls of the stairway to his basement. That's where Cindy draws the line. That's probably a real good idea, he says. Mattsson, ascetic for a bachelor, imposes the same rule on himself. LeBeau, who has never been married, is much less restrained. —Tom Harpole, Air & Space, December 1999/January 2000

Origin of ASCETIC

Greek askētikos, literally, laborious, from askētēs one that exercises, hermit, from askein to work, exercise
First Known Use: 1646

Synonym Discussion of ASCETIC

severe, stern, austere, ascetic mean given to or marked by strict discipline and firm restraint. severe implies standards enforced without indulgence or laxity and may suggest harshness <severe military discipline>. stern stresses inflexibility and inexorability of temper or character <stern arbiters of public morality>. austere stresses absence of warmth, color, or feeling and may apply to rigorous restraint, simplicity, or self-denial <living an austere life in the country>. ascetic implies abstention from pleasure and comfort or self-indulgence as spiritual discipline <the ascetic life of the monks>.


Next Word in the Dictionary: ascetical theologyPrevious Word in the Dictionary: ascesisAll Words Near: ascetic
How to use a word that (literally) drives some people nuts.
Test your vocab with our fun, fast game
Ailurophobia, and 9 other unusual fears