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

Keep scrolling for more

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.
See More
Recent Examples on the Web During Taliban rule 20 years ago, morality police roamed the streets, implementing the group's austere interpretation of Islamic law -- with harsh restrictions on women, strictly enforced prayer times, and even bans on kite-flying and chess. Compiled Democrat-gazette Staff From Wire Reports, Arkansas Online, 9 Sep. 2021 These austere conditions yield more flavorful wine, as the hardy vines vigorously soak up minerals and channel all their energy into fruit production. Joseph Hernandez, Bon Appétit, 7 Sep. 2021 The building’s austere gray lines are softened by trees: From 2005 to 2015, when the lab was under construction, scientists would drive out on Arbor Day to add a few more saplings to the perimeter. Eva Dou, Pei Lin Wu, Quentin Aries, Rebecca Tan, Anchorage Daily News, 7 Sep. 2021 Bearded, scraggly men with black turbans took control of the Presidential palace, and around the capital the austere white flags of the Islamic Emirate of Afghanistan went up. Anand Gopal, The New Yorker, 6 Sep. 2021 As an Anjou-Villages, the body and texture are lighter and more austere than other Loire appellations such as Chinon or Bourgeuil, but the flavors pop with energy. Washington Post, 3 Sep. 2021 Their aim was to indoctrinate Muslim youth with an austere, rigid, and pristine vision of Islam. Sohel Rana, Quartz, 26 Aug. 2021 Visitors to the austere setting can witness layers of history in the 1,500-year-old cliff dwellings, strewn with pottery shards and bones, and decorated with rock art panels. Alex Schechter, New York Times, 14 May 2021 With Lewis playing trombone, organ and electronics, his austere then emotive work managed to honor its dedicatee by generating new stylistic possibilities within an existing tradition — just as Parker had done. New York Times, 31 Aug. 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About austere

Time Traveler for austere

Time Traveler

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

See more words from the same century

Dictionary Entries Near austere

austenitize

austere

austerity

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for austere

Last Updated

18 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Austere.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/austere. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for austere

austere

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of austere

: simple or plain : not fancy
: 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

More from Merriam-Webster on austere

Nglish: Translation of austere for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of austere for Arabic Speakers

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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