austere

adjective
aus·​tere | \ ȯ-ˈstir How to pronounce austere (audio) also -ˈster \

Definition of austere

1a : stern and cold in appearance or manner an austere Puritan
b : somber, grave an austere critic
2 : morally strict : ascetic
3 : markedly simple or unadorned an austere office an austere style of writing
4 : giving little or no scope for pleasure austere diets
5 of a wine : having the flavor of acid or tannin predominant over fruit flavors usually indicating a capacity for aging

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Other Words from austere

austerely adverb
austereness noun

Choose the Right Synonym for austere

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

Examples of austere in a Sentence

This is a national conceit that is the comprehensible result of the religious beliefs of the early New England colonists (Calvinist religious dissenters, moved by millenarian expectations and theocratic ideas), which convinced them that their austere settlements in the wilderness represented a new start in humanity's story. — William Pfaff, New York Review, 15 Feb. 2007 For many of us with no firsthand familiarity with Greece, it's easy to forget that its celebrated ruins are a distortion and that we behold its ancient culture in its bare-bones lineaments. The austere white buildings of the Acropolis were once painted and parti-colored structures. — Brad Leithauser, New York Times Book Review, 26 Mar. 2006 I cut off my long dark hair, put on the habit (and it was quite becoming, in an austere sort of way), wrapped a big rosary around my waist, threw the cloak over my shoulders and set out. — Albert E. Cowdrey, Fantasy & Science Fiction, March 2005 Certain kinds of landscapes—volatile ocean environments, sculpturally seductive alpine peaks, austere polar regions—became infused with what philosopher Edmund Burke called "a sort of delightful horror." — James Balog, American Photo, May/June 2004 They choose austere furnishings for the office. He was known for his austere style of writing. They lived an austere life in the country.
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Recent Examples on the Web While Gregoire’s austere budget proposals did not hike taxes or dry up tax credits for businesses, Nguyen wrote in his petition that some tax increases will likely be necessary. Tim Gruver, Washington Examiner, "Washington state lawmaker decries austerity measures ahead of 2021 session," 9 Sep. 2020 The following week, on the third night of the Republican convention, country star Trace Adkins delivered an austere and sensitive a cappella reading with a stillness that was surprisingly moving. Washington Post, "A song doesn’t have to scream U!S!A! to be patriotic. Just ask the NFL.," 3 Sep. 2020 Death Valley, an austere landscape in the desert of southeastern California, includes Badwater Basin, which at 282 feet below sea level is the lowest point in North America. chicagotribune.com, "Meteorologists seek to verify 130-degree Death Valley temperature, a reading among the highest ever recorded globally if confirmed," 17 Aug. 2020 Handsome, pale, and angular, dressed in an austere contrast of black and white, he is meant to command a wall. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "El Greco Sizzles in Chicago, in Paris, Not So Much," 15 Aug. 2020 Moira and David's austere designer garb always contrasted wonderfully with their shabby environs and the show's ubiquitous belching horns. Kirsten Chuba, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Schitt's Creek' Boss Dan Levy on Dealing With Fan Pressure and Planning His Own Backyard Emmy Party," 14 Aug. 2020 New York City lawmakers approved an austere budget Wednesday that will shift $1 billion from policing to education and social services in the coming year. Fox News, "LAPD probing possible 'blue flu' sick-out over July 4th weekend: report," 9 July 2020 Both the Pinot Noir and Chardonnay from this vineyard tend to be savory and crisp, with delicate fruit and austere, firm structure. Matt Kettmann, SFChronicle.com, "Albatross Ridge: stunning Pinot Noir in Carmel Valley," 6 Mar. 2018 The kind of modernism that Loos advocated was spare and austere, highlighting the function of each object or structure rather than concealing it behind layers of frippery. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, "The North American Maximalism of Gigi Hadid and Drake’s Home Design," 5 Aug. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'austere.' 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 austere

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for austere

Middle English, from Anglo-French, from Latin austerus, from Greek austēros harsh, severe; akin to Greek hauos dry — more at sere

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Time Traveler for austere

Time Traveler

The first known use of austere was in the 14th century

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Statistics for austere

Last Updated

17 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Austere.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/austere. Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for austere

austere

adjective
How to pronounce austere (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of austere

: simple or plain : not fancy
of a person : having a serious and unfriendly quality
: having few pleasures : simple and harsh

austere

adjective
aus·​tere | \ ȯ-ˈstir How to pronounce austere (audio) \

Kids Definition of austere

1 : seeming or acting serious and unfriendly an austere family
2 : plain entry 1 sense 1 an austere room

Other Words from austere

austerely adverb

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Comments on austere

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