Definition of austere
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
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.
Recent Examples of austere from the Web
The UConn Board of Trustees approved austere budgets for UConn and UConn Health for next year that reflect the state's financial strain as well as the uncertainties that persist with a state budget that is still unsettled.
It is often called the MIT of Iran -- re-imagined after austere beginnings, based on the example of that American powerhouse, Sharif President Mahmud Fotuhi Firuzabad told CNN on a recent spring morning in Tehran.
Their program is neither entirely austere nor a big-government boondoggle, yet manages to incorporate the pitfalls of each approach.
Abstract but not austere, colorful without being frivolous, often suggesting nature without imitating it, Wright's decoration is surely one of the reasons why a broad swath of the public reveres him.
Scanning the austere coastline surrounding South Australia’s Spencer Gulf, there would be little reason to suspect that anything extraordinary ever happens in this place.
Nothing wrong with Hsu’s playing, but it’s probably not wise to end a long recital with a work that’s rather austere and lacking much in the way of excitement.
This conceit must strain Christian charity, let alone more austere Jewish and Muslim moralism.
The number is climbing slowly across broad swaths of the rural big-sky West, driven by a combination of austere budgets, fuel-guzzling bus rides and teacher shortages that have turned four-day weeks into an important recruiting tool.
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.
Synonym Discussion of austere
AUSTERE Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of austere for English Language Learners
: simple or plain : not fancy
of a person : having a serious and unfriendly quality
: having few pleasures : simple and harsh
AUSTERE Defined for Kids
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up austere? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).