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 ascetic (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

Other Words from ascetic

ascetic noun
ascetically \ ə-​ˈse-​ti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ascetic (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." Ultimately, it comes from the Greek verb askein, which means "to exercise" or "to 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, and self-indulgence as 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
Recent Examples on the Web For centuries, fad diets have preyed on those who've been brutalized by feminine beauty standards, and Johnson is breaking tradition with an ascetic set of rules designed to innervate a more masculine insecurity. Luke Winkie, Bon Appétit, 31 Aug. 2022 Omar, who was known for his ascetic lifestyle and aversion to foreigners, died in hiding in 2013; his successor, Mullah Akhtar Muhammad Mansour, was more worldly. New York Times, 8 Aug. 2022 Fasting, which is often considered ascetic, is actually compatible with a deep appreciation of food. Kyle Boelte, Outside Online, 10 May 2017 Stanislavski saw his students as votaries in an ascetic cult. New York Times, 3 Aug. 2022 Ravi Dutt, the 69-year-old Hindu ascetic from eastern West Bengal state, was camping near the cave on Friday evening. Aijaz Hussain, ajc, 9 July 2022 This dissident and ascetic religious group, then considered heretics, gathered in this part of Europe during the 12th century. Terry Ward, CNN, 7 July 2022 By the time Orbán ran for reëlection earlier this year, Dreher had completed his transition from aspiring ascetic to partisan booster. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 27 June 2022 His eyebrows seemingly shaved and face often obscured by a scarf, Saul presents a curious figure, one who’s at once an artist, ninja and religious ascetic. New York Times, 2 June 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of ascetic was in 1646

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Dictionary Entries Near ascetic

ascesis

ascetic

ascetical theology

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Last Updated

15 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ascetic.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ascetic. Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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