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 Over the drop zone, the cargo capsule would separate and slowly descend onto an austere landing zone. Kyle Mizokami, Popular Mechanics, 4 June 2021 Instead of sitting at an austere mahogany-wood conference table in a cold room, Googlers would sit in a circle with huge screens for video conferences to accommodate remote workers and those at different locations. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 31 May 2021 That austere budget was largely restored to full levels during the General Assembly’s regular session this year. Washington Post, 19 May 2021 There are austere pieces, notably Amy Finkelstein’s photo of a striking abstract collage. Washington Post, 28 May 2021 And the style is dry—bracingly so, although one of the many vivid characters in the story breaks the austere tone with her startling passion. Joe Morgenstern, WSJ, 20 May 2021 The site had peak capacity of nearly 2,300 and migrant boys slept there in an austere gray and beige exhibit hall filled with rows of cots. Dianne Solis, Dallas News, 19 May 2021 Locked down at home, suddenly, our boxy, straight, and often simplistic furniture felt more like an unnecessary austere choice than a cool one. Steff Yotka, Vogue, 19 May 2021 Instead of sitting at an austere mahogany-wood conference table in a sterile room, Googlers would sit in a circle with huge screens for video conferences to accommodate remote workers and those at different locations. Jack Kelly, Forbes, 6 May 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.

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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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Last Updated

14 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Austere.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/austere. Accessed 21 Jun. 2021.

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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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