severe, stern, austere, ascetic mean given to or marked by strict discipline and firm restraint. severe implies standards enforced without indulgence or laxity and may suggest harshness.
severe military disciplinestern stresses inflexibility and inexorability of temper or character.
stern arbiters of public moralityaustere stresses absence of warmth, color, or feeling and may apply to rigorous restraint, simplicity, or self-denial.
living an austere life in the country ascetic implies abstention from pleasure and comfort or self-indulgence as spiritual discipline.
the ascetic life of the monks
Did you know?
Ascetic comes from askētikos, a Greek adjective meaning "laborious." Ultimately, it comes from the Greek verb askein, which means "to exercise" or "to work." There aren't many other English words from askein, but there's no dearth of synonyms for ascetic. Severe and austere, for example, are two words that share with ascetic the basic meaning "given to or marked by strict discipline and firm restraint." Ascetic implies abstention from pleasure, comfort, and self-indulgence as spiritual discipline, whereas severe implies standards enforced without indulgence or laxity and may suggest harshness (as in "severe military discipline"). Austere stresses absence of warmth, color, or feeling and may apply to rigorous restraint, simplicity, or self-denial (as in "living an austere life in the country").
Examples of ascetic in a Sentence
Patterson's collection begins on the walls of the stairway to his basement. "That's where Cindy draws the line. That's probably a real good idea," he says. Mattsson, ascetic for a bachelor, imposes the same rule on himself. LeBeau, who has never been married, is much less restrained.— Tom Harpole, Air & Space, December 1999/January 2000By Hollywood standards, Calley's career path may seem enigmatic, but then, so is his personality. If Mark Canton, the previous Sony president, was the boastful, Armani-clad big spender, Calley is downright ascetic, a man who disdains Hollywood profligacy.— Peter Bart, GQ, August 1997He converted to Catholicism and, after a long period of intense self-questioning, became a Trappist monk at the Abbey of Gethsemani in Kentucky, which, at the time, was as ascetic and demanding as any monastery of the Middle Ages.— Julius Lester, Falling Pieces of the Broken Sky, 1990
Recent Examples on the WebStanislavski saw his students as votaries in an ascetic cult.
New York Times, 3 Aug. 2022 Ravi Dutt, the 69-year-old Hindu ascetic from eastern West Bengal state, was camping near the cave on Friday evening.
Aijaz Hussain, ajc, 9 July 2022 This dissident and ascetic religious group, then considered heretics, gathered in this part of Europe during the 12th century.
Terry Ward, CNN, 7 July 2022 By the time Orbán ran for reëlection earlier this year, Dreher had completed his transition from aspiring ascetic to partisan booster.
Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 27 June 2022 His eyebrows seemingly shaved and face often obscured by a scarf, Saul presents a curious figure, one who’s at once an artist, ninja and religious ascetic.
New York Times, 2 June 2022 With Bob, there is a kind of ascetic renunciation in his suffering that borders on the spiritual.
New York Times, 25 May 2022 But, this isn’t an ascetic boot camp — the resort is pure luxury.
Sandra Ramani, Robb Report, 7 May 2022 In 1601 a religious ascetic named Ihor Manyaski retreated to this gorge and built a crude hut on the hillside.
Joshua Hammer, Smithsonian Magazine, 5 May 2022 See More
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ascetic.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.