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

The federal fiscal oversight board set up by Congress in 2016 to manage the island's debt is deeply unpopular, with many denouncing it as an undemocratic institution which has hindered Puerto Rico's recovery by ordering austerity measures. Camilo Montoya-galvez, CBS News, "Some progressives worry Puerto Rico is being left behind on 2020 campaign trail," 7 June 2019 In particular, Germany’s taste for austerity at home and across Europe, augmented by the advantages that have accrued to German exports from the Euro, has exposed a rift between a prospering north and a suffering south. Michael Kimmage, New Republic, "What Happened to the European Union?," 8 Jan. 2018 The austerity measures adopted by Hezbollah offer one indication of the breadth of their impact, not only on Iran’s own economy but on its capacity to support its regional proxies. Suzan Haidamous, The Seattle Times, "Trump’s sanctions on Iran are hitting Hezbollah hard," 18 May 2019 The austerity measures were part of an ambitious economic reform program intended to revive the country’s economy mauled by years of political turmoil and violence. Samy Magdy, The Seattle Times, "Egypt’s leader raises minimum wage by 67 percent," 30 Mar. 2019 For a women who demanded silence and austerity in her house, no doubt the cacophony of her nine children and 42 grandchildren was at times overwhelming. Lauren Hubbard, Town & Country, "What Was Queen Victoria Like as a Mother?," 13 Jan. 2019 That relatively modest showing put the party in position to win after a campaign where debates over climate change, immigration and austerity prompted voters to embrace upstart... Drew Hinshaw, WSJ, "Social Democrats Set to Win Close Legislative Election in Finland," 14 Apr. 2019 The outgoing center-right government led by Prime Minister Juha Sipila, leader of the Center Party and a former technology executive, pushed through an austerity package after winning in 2015. Jari Tanner, The Seattle Times, "Finns to vote on how best to save their welfare state," 12 Apr. 2019 Monday’s investment forum comes as Saudi expenditures are set to hit a record-high this year of $295 billion, even as declining oil prices have forced the kingdom to adopt austerity measures. Aya Batrawy, The Seattle Times, "Saudi Arabia showcases $53B in deals at conference," 28 Jan. 2019

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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More Definitions for austerity



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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to move with exaggerated bouncy motions

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