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
Recent Examples on the Web Many poor countries now confront an uncomfortable choice — increasing spending to aid their populations while adding to their debts, or imposing budget austerity and courting social conflict. New York Times, 17 May 2022 But some of the names pivoting toward austerity bear watching. Jacob Carpenter, Fortune, 5 May 2022 As for their homes, Read tried to mimic the austerity of Latter-day Saint temples and meeting houses. Meredith Blakestaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 5 May 2022 After the austerity of World War II, people flocked to soda fountains and sock hops and twirled their hips to the music of Elvis Presley. Isabel B. Slone, Town & Country, 2 May 2022 Examples from around the world show that capital controls, price controls, and austerity make inflation worse, not better. Steve Forbes, National Review, 19 Apr. 2022 To me, his decision expresses unrestrained freedom even within a predicament of wintry austerity. Washington Post, 13 Apr. 2022 Under the cover of austerity and the faux-Churchillian vibes of Brexit, which the BBC is alleged to have opposed, the broadcaster is being cut to the bone. Sam Knight, The New Yorker, 11 Apr. 2022 Or even when a government cuts budgets for services, enacting austerity, and creating a vacuum that businesses can rush to fill. Robin Kaiser-schatzlein, The New Republic, 1 Apr. 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for austerity

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

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Dictionary Entries Near austerity



austerity program

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Statistics for austerity

Last Updated

22 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Austerity.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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More Definitions for austerity


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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