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 Spartan (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

Time Traveler for Spartan

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Statistics for Spartan

Cite this Entry

“Spartan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Apr. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on 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).


Test Your Vocabulary

The Exceptions Quiz III

  • one green toy robot amidst many red toy robots
  • Which of these words does not mean "nonsense"?
True or False

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


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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