Definition of ascetic in US English:

ascetic

adjective

  • Characterized by or suggesting the practice of severe self-discipline and abstention from all forms of indulgence, typically for religious reasons.

    ‘an ascetic life of prayer, fasting, and manual labor’
    ‘a narrow, humorless, ascetic face’
    • ‘For Brendan, salvation is best accomplished through the monastic way, understood as a combination of ascetic practices and liturgical observance.’
    • ‘Cornet always led a frugal and ascetic life, able to live contentedly for weeks on end with the same menu of rice and dried fish.’
    • ‘The people communicate with him by way of ascetic disciplines on certain sacred mountains.’
    • ‘Nor will we gain any great wisdom through the more punitive, ascetic methods.’
    • ‘Bernard's over-rigorous pursuit of ascetic discipline adversely affected his health.’
    • ‘His earlier life of self-indulgence had been unsatisfying, as was his six-year experiment with ascetic penances.’
    • ‘The seventies were very sleek and empty, more concerned with structure, form, and a certain kind of ascetic rigorousness.’
    • ‘My tastes are modest to the point of ascetic austerity.’
    • ‘Indeed most martial arts are based on the creations of Chinese ascetic monks almost a thousand years ago.’
    • ‘Sufism emphasises the more mystical and ascetic aspects of the religion.’
    • ‘While there is not too much on the theology of the cross, or on the phenomenon of monasticism, all authors speak from the reality of a crucified, ascetic tradition.’
    • ‘These three constitute the Supernal Triad - those spheres which are wholly outside the realm of direct human experience for all but the most disciplined and ascetic individuals.’
    • ‘It will doubtless surprise some viewers to learn that the monks' daily routine is not dominated by the strict, ascetic activities one might suppose.’
    • ‘He walked away from every system of thought and every ascetic setup that was offered to him as an alternative.’
    • ‘I was simply fighting against what I perceived as biblical, doctrinal, and ascetic fundamentalism.’
    • ‘True spirituality, or godliness, is found in everyday social relationships as well as in prayer, learning, or ascetic practices.’
    • ‘The motive was mainly ascetic, but was in part connected with the greater authority which, in antiquity, attached to such renunciation.’
    • ‘He himself lived a rigorously ascetic life and observed the monastic precepts faithfully.’
    • ‘Yet the texts are firmly part of the later medieval world: the first two come from the writings of visionary women mystics and the last from a rigorously ascetic monastic theologian.’
    • ‘Buddhism requires ascetic behaviour, including fasting, by its monks, but not from other followers.’
    austere, self-denying, abstinent, abstemious, non-indulgent, self-disciplined, frugal, simple, rigorous, strict, severe, hair-shirt, spartan, monastic, monkish, nunlike
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noun

  • A person who practices severe self-discipline and abstention.

    • ‘A special sanctity often attached to religious hermits and saintly ascetics, who were revered for their piety and sought out for the healing abilities of the blessed power attributed to them.’
    • ‘We can see well enough that Paul had to fight the Gnostics, the Platonists, and the ascetics on these counts.’
    • ‘The major sect of Udasin ascetics was originally not Shaiva - nor even Hindu - but belonged to the Sikh religion.’
    • ‘Mystics and ascetics have been telling us for ages that the goal of life is to learn how to die.’
    • ‘He formed an order of ascetics devoted to develop a sense of community with the help of religious injunctions and instructions.’
    • ‘They appear as often as not in religious contexts and associated with marginal Christian groups, whether ascetics or heretics.’
    • ‘The composition of hymns of the Rig-Veda was done by Hindu recluses, ascetics, Rishis and Sages rooted in the realities of life inside the society.’
    • ‘In all four Vedas, there are references to women ascetics reciting Vedic hymns and even creating mantras.’
    • ‘These are the qualities of Siva, the lord of yogis and ascetics.’
    • ‘Missionaries in the African churches, and probably elsewhere, were normally unmarried ascetics living in the utmost simplicity.’
    • ‘I don't mean mystics and ascetics, who are often wrongly accused of such world - hatred.’
    • ‘Participants examine ancient practices, contemporary practices, iconography, literature and even the way in which modern medical research supports some of the traditional claims of ascetics.’
    • ‘Later, the Fuke school came to be composed primarily of wandering, non-ordained ascetics who specialized in playing the shakuhachi flute.’
    • ‘When you read Bondi on the desert ascetics and medieval mystics, you are there.’
    • ‘The leaves are said to be invigorating and an aphrodisiac and, therefore, not to be used by celibates and ascetics.’
    • ‘The same goes for gnostic Christianity, where we had the strict ascetics on the one hand and the extreme libertines on the other.’
    • ‘Its appeal is on many different levels and, through the ages, ascetics and scholars alike have dedicated their lives to studying, collating, and translating the varied and voluminous material.’
    • ‘Brahmins and ascetics play their part, but their roles are secondary to those of Ayodhya's ruling family, and the monkey and demon warriors.’
    • ‘The ascetics would go out and, with great exertion, meditate for months and years under a tree or leaning against a boulder.’
    • ‘The protagonist moves through various stages of life, from living with ascetics to participating in the marketplace, neither of which bring satisfaction.’
    abstainer, recluse, hermit, solitary, anchorite, anchoress, desert saint, celibate, puritan, nun, monk
    View synonyms

Origin

Mid 17th century: from medieval Latin asceticus or Greek askētikos, from askētēs ‘monk’, from askein ‘to exercise’.

Pronunciation

ascetic

/əˈsedik//əˈsɛdɪk/