Spar·​tan | \ ˈspär-tᵊn How to pronounce Spartan (audio) \

Definition of Spartan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a native or inhabitant of ancient Sparta
2 : a person of great courage and self-discipline



Definition of Spartan (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to Sparta in ancient Greece
2a often not capitalized : marked by strict self-discipline or self-denial a Spartan athlete
b often not capitalized : marked by simplicity, frugality, or avoidance of luxury and comfort a Spartan room
c : laconic
d : undaunted by pain or danger

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from Spartan


Spartanism \ ˈspär-​tᵊn-​ˌi-​zəm How to pronounce Spartanism (audio) \ noun


Spartanly adverb

Did You Know?


In ancient times, the Greek city-state of Sparta had a reputation for the severe and highly disciplined way of life it enforced among its citizens, so as to keep them ready for war at any time. Physical training was required for both men and women. A boy would begin his military training at 7 and would live in army barracks for much of his life, even after he was married. Today, when a cargo ship or a remote beach resort offers "spartan accommodations", some tourists jump at the chance for a refreshing change from the luxuries they've been used to—and no one worries that they'll be forced out of bed at dawn to participate in war games.

First Known Use of Spartan


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about Spartan

Statistics for Spartan

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for Spartan

The first known use of Spartan was in the 15th century

See more words from the same century

More from Merriam-Webster on Spartan

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with Spartan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for Spartan

Comments on Spartan

What made you want to look up Spartan? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


authorized for issue (as a bond)

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Musical Words Quiz

  • gramophone
  • Which word describes a musical performance marked by the absence of instrumental accompaniment?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!