austere

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

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

But that's not all: The late Leonard Cohen is the austere focal point of Marianne and Leonard: Words of Love, which documents a memorable '60s-era affair between Cohen and his Norwegian muse, Marianne Ihlen. Michael Granberry, Dallas News, "Boomer madness: Summer of '69 casts a nostalgic haze over summer 2019 movies," 26 July 2019 Her father was a well-to-do merchant but ran an austere household, toughening up his seven children with meager diets and few comforts. Kate Siber, Outside Online, "Meet the World's First Solo Female Travel Writer," 24 July 2019 Looking at this room of Matisses, this is one of the more austere ones. New York Times, "What 7 Visitors (and One Guard) Cherished on MoMA’s Closing Day," 17 June 2019 Holding it down from behind an austere kit, tom and snare were her main weapons of choice, her kick used primarily for thump and bump. Kevin Williams, chicagotribune.com, "Pitchfork Music Fest 2019: What we loved and what we could do without on day 3," 21 July 2019 Their austere expressions read like a quiet challenge to a society that refuses to accept them. New York Times, "Beat the Heat With These 10 Must-See Art Shows," 19 July 2019 But the dentistry building, designed by the Cleveland firm of DLR Group/Westlake Reed Leskosky, is an austere box of white brick. Steven Litt, cleveland.com, "Is CWRU-Clinic Health Education Campus just another big shiny box at a sprawling medical center? - Steven Litt," 14 July 2019 West clearly has a design aesthetic—austere monochrome minimalism—that shows in his Yeezy clothing and Adidas shoe lines. Daisy Hernandez, Popular Mechanics, "Kanye West Wants to Build Prefab Homes Inspired by Star Wars," 10 July 2019 The austere, ethereal grids of Agnes Martin come to mind, and Hur’s works generate a similar expansive feeling. Sharon Mizota, latimes.com, "Art as a portal to Korean ancestors? The mesmerizing work of Hanna Hur," 1 July 2019

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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Statistics for austere

Last Updated

9 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for austere

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

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More Definitions for austere

austere

adjective

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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More from Merriam-Webster on austere

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for austere

Spanish Central: Translation of austere

Nglish: Translation of austere for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of austere for Arabic Speakers

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