ascetic

adjective
as·​cet·​ic | \ ə-ˈse-tik How to pronounce ascetic (audio) , a- \
variants: or less commonly ascetical \ ə-​ˈse-​ti-​kəl How to pronounce ascetical (audio) \

Definition of ascetic

1 : practicing strict self-denial as a measure of personal and especially spiritual discipline an ascetic monk an ascetic diet
2 : austere in appearance, manner, or attitude

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Other Words from ascetic

ascetic noun
ascetically \ ə-​ˈse-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ascetically (audio) \ adverb

Choose the Right Synonym for 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

Did You Know?

Ascetic comes from "askētikos," a Greek adjective meaning "laborious," and ultimately traces back to the Greek verb askein, which means "exercise" or "work." There aren't many other English words from "askein," but there's no dearth of synonyms for "ascetic." "Severe" and "austere," for example, are two words that share with "ascetic" the basic meaning "given to or marked by strict discipline and firm restraint." "Ascetic" implies abstention from pleasure, comfort, or self-indulgence as a spiritual discipline, whereas "severe" implies standards enforced without indulgence or laxity and may suggest harshness (as in "severe military discipline"). "Austere" stresses absence of warmth, color, or feeling and may apply to rigorous restraint, simplicity, or self-denial (as in "living an austere life in the country").

Examples of ascetic in a Sentence

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 By Hollywood standards, Calley's career path may seem enigmatic, but then, so is his personality. If Mark Canton, the previous Sony president, was the boastful, Armani-clad big spender, Calley is downright ascetic, a man who disdains Hollywood profligacy. — Peter Bart, GQ, August 1997 He converted to Catholicism and, after a long period of intense self-questioning, became a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, which, at the time, was as ascetic and demanding as any monastery of the Middle Ages. — Julius Lester, Falling Pieces of the Broken Sky, 1990
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Recent Examples on the Web Quirky and austere, air plants achieve ascetic transcendence. Crispin Long, The New Yorker, "The Alien Minimalism of Air Plants," 18 Dec. 2019 The hermit was killed in 1869 in another part of New Mexico by unknown attackers and found with his crucifix in his hand, wearing a cilice—an ascetic’s spiked iron belt—that had been around his waist so long his skin had grown over it. Smithsonian, "The Inspiring Monk Who Lived in a New Mexico Cave," 22 Nov. 2019 On the remote, swampy world of Dagobah, Luke is taught the ways of the Jedi by a goblin-like ascetic known as Yoda. Alex Kane, USA TODAY, "How to watch Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back," 12 Nov. 2019 Dopamine fasting — loosely defined as the practice of adopting, for various lengths of time, an extremely ascetic lifestyle in order to reset your brain chemistry — is the sort of thing that feels engineered to go viral. Ryan Kost, SFChronicle.com, "Dopamine fasting: How Silicon Valley is trying to hack our brains," 5 Nov. 2019 His father is a pastor with an ascetic hatred of the body. James Wood, The New Yorker, "A Neglected Modern Masterpiece and Its Perverse Hero," 14 Oct. 2019 Get our daily newsletter Kimbanguists adhere to an ascetic lifestyle. The Economist, "Kimbanguists believe Congo’s suffering is a sign of the apocalypse," 29 Aug. 2019 There was still an epicure lurking in her ascetic heart. Ailsa Ross, Longreads, "Mountains, Transcending," 9 Aug. 2019 Get our daily newsletter Kimbanguists adhere to an ascetic lifestyle. The Economist, "Kimbanguists believe Congo’s suffering is a sign of the apocalypse," 29 Aug. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ascetic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of ascetic

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for ascetic

Greek askētikos, literally, laborious, from askētēs one that exercises, hermit, from askein to work, exercise

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Time Traveler for ascetic

Time Traveler

The first known use of ascetic was in 1646

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Last Updated

22 Dec 2019

Cite this Entry

“Ascetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ascetic. Accessed 18 Feb. 2020.

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More Definitions for ascetic

ascetic

adjective
How to pronounce ascetic (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ascetic

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

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More from Merriam-Webster on ascetic

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for ascetic

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with ascetic

Spanish Central: Translation of ascetic

Nglish: Translation of ascetic for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ascetic for Arabic Speakers

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