aus·​ter·​i·​ty | \ ȯ-ˈster-ə-tē How to pronounce austerity (audio) , -ˈste-rə- also -ˈstir-ə-\
plural austerities

Definition of austerity

1 : the quality or state of being austere: such as
a : a stern and serious quality the formal austerity of his manner
b : a plain and simple quality the austerity of the design
2 : enforced or extreme economy especially on a national scale lived through years of austerity after the war fiscal austerity a series of austerity measures [=measures taken to reduce spending]
3a : an austere act, manner, or attitude monastic self-denial and austerities
b : an ascetic (see ascetic sense 1) practice

Examples of austerity in a Sentence

the austerity of the design The austerity of their lifestyle was surprising. They lived through years of austerity after the war. the austerities practiced by monks
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Recent Examples on the Web

Argentines are weary of austerity and are unlikely to thank Mr Macri for providing them with more of it, particularly at the behest of the IMF. The Economist, "The IMF hands Mauricio Macri a vote of confidence," 8 June 2018 Politicians thus become more likely to appoint inflation-fighting technocrats, who anchor inflation with fiscal austerity and tight credit, to their economic teams. Stephen Kaplan, Washington Post, "Will Sunday’s elections bring economic relief and reform to Venezuela?," 17 May 2018 Japan was in post-war austerity and businesses were failing as the economy contracted., "Toyota Record Profit Won't Bury Ghost That Haunts Japan's Wages," 6 Mar. 2018 Jordan's King Abdullah II will meet with the country's Prime Minister today as protests against an austerity plan there continued. Doug Criss, CNN, "5 things for June 4: Tariffs, volcanoes, breast cancer study," 4 June 2018 Unwilling to pacify investors by inflicting austerity on voters, President Richard Nixon uncoupled the dollar from gold, ending the Bretton Woods agreement. Caleb Crain, The New Yorker, "Is Capitalism a Threat to Democracy?," 7 May 2018 The government has insisted that the spending is necessary to promote growth after years of austerity. Colleen Barry, The Seattle Times, "Italy’s doesn’t budge in clash with EU over budget deficit," 13 Nov. 2018 As part of the austerity drive, Mexico’s Congress recently approved a law centralizing all government purchases at the finance ministry. Juan Montes, WSJ, "Mexican President Proposes Moderate Spending Increase for 2019," 15 Dec. 2018 Chaudhry said that in line with Khan’s austerity drive, the government will auction off 88 luxury vehicles from the premier’s residence used for protocol. Zarar Khan, The Seattle Times, "Pakistan’s 21-member Cabinet is sworn in; PM promises change," 20 Aug. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'austerity.' 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 austerity

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for austerity

see austere

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Last Updated

23 Mar 2019

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Time Traveler for austerity

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

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English Language Learners Definition of austerity

: a simple and plain quality : an austere quality
: a situation in which there is not much money and it is spent only on things that are necessary
: things that are done to live in a simple and plain way


aus·​ter·​i·​ty | \ ȯ-ˈster-ə-tē How to pronounce austerity (audio) \

Kids Definition of austerity

: lack of all luxury

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More from Merriam-Webster on austerity

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with austerity

Spanish Central: Translation of austerity

Nglish: Translation of austerity for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of austerity for Arabic Speakers

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a shady place in a garden or forest

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