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 But science has taught us that the abstract and austere form of mathematical beauty often offers a safer long-term choice. Quanta Magazine, "The Two Forms of Mathematical Beauty," 16 June 2020 In this austere telling, disputed by many economists, the current splurge is a vindication of fiscal rectitude, rather than its negation. The Economist, "Hey, big spenders Germany opens the money tap," 11 June 2020 The interiors of the distant future tend to be glassily austere, as cozy as a skyscraper boardroom. Laurence Scott, Wired, "Star Trek: Picard, Fancy Sheets, and the Meaning of Home," 28 Mar. 2020 That medication must be monitored carefully, a task that may be impossible in austere combat environments far from laboratories. Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY, "Army issues waivers to 1,000 recruits for history of bipolar, depression, self-mutilation," 26 Apr. 2018 President Muhammadu Buhari -- a 77-year-old austere former general who was elected for a second term last year -- is attempting to promote self-reliance and wean Nigeria off its dependence on oil and foreign goods. Anthony Osae-brown, Bloomberg.com, "Thwarting Smugglers Leave Nigerians Counting Costs of Stony Rice," 7 May 2020 Buybacks, dividends, overhead, capex and just about every other cash expense are now being cut, so second-quarter earnings reports will feel much more austere. New York Times, "Private Equity Can’t Always Get What It Wants," 6 May 2020 When the austere parade ended at Alamo Plaza, there were religious services and patriotic speeches, headlined by a Brooklyn pastor speaking on German atrocities. Paula Allen, ExpressNews.com, "World War I, flu pandemic knocked out San Antonio’s Fiesta for two years before its triumphant return in 1920," 2 May 2020 Verdin sits in his austere, modern USAID office in Washington, D.C., reflecting on the Somali crisis, now nearly a decade ago. Paul Voosen, Science | AAAS, "How a team of scientists studying drought helped build the world’s leading famine prediction model," 15 Apr. 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

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

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Last Updated

25 Jun 2020

Cite this Entry

“Austere.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/austere. Accessed 3 Jul. 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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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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