Spar·​tan | \ ˈspär-tᵊn How to pronounce Spartan (audio) \

Definition of Spartan

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a native or inhabitant of ancient Sparta
2 : a person of great courage and self-discipline



Definition of Spartan (Entry 2 of 2)

1 : of or relating to Sparta in ancient Greece
2a often not capitalized : marked by strict self-discipline or self-denial a Spartan athlete
b often not capitalized : marked by simplicity, frugality, or avoidance of luxury and comfort a Spartan room
c : laconic
d : undaunted by pain or danger

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Other Words from Spartan


Spartanism \ ˈspär-​tᵊn-​ˌi-​zəm How to pronounce Spartan (audio) \ noun


Spartanly adverb

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In ancient times, the Greek city-state of Sparta had a reputation for the severe and highly disciplined way of life it enforced among its citizens, so as to keep them ready for war at any time. Physical training was required for both men and women. A boy would begin his military training at 7 and would live in army barracks for much of his life, even after he was married. Today, when a cargo ship or a remote beach resort offers "spartan accommodations", some tourists jump at the chance for a refreshing change from the luxuries they've been used to—and no one worries that they'll be forced out of bed at dawn to participate in war games.

First Known Use of Spartan


15th century, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1561, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of Spartan was in the 15th century

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Cite this Entry

“Spartan.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Oct. 2021.

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