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’
    • ‘Bernard's over-rigorous pursuit of ascetic discipline adversely affected his health.’
    • ‘He himself lived a rigorously ascetic life and observed the monastic precepts faithfully.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The seventies were very sleek and empty, more concerned with structure, form, and a certain kind of ascetic rigorousness.’
    • ‘His earlier life of self-indulgence had been unsatisfying, as was his six-year experiment with ascetic penances.’
    • ‘Sufism emphasises the more mystical and ascetic aspects of the religion.’
    • ‘For Brendan, salvation is best accomplished through the monastic way, understood as a combination of ascetic practices and liturgical observance.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He walked away from every system of thought and every ascetic setup that was offered to him as an alternative.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Buddhism requires ascetic behaviour, including fasting, by its monks, but not from other followers.’
    • ‘Nor will we gain any great wisdom through the more punitive, ascetic methods.’
    • ‘True spirituality, or godliness, is found in everyday social relationships as well as in prayer, learning, or ascetic practices.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘I was simply fighting against what I perceived as biblical, doctrinal, and ascetic fundamentalism.’
    • ‘The motive was mainly ascetic, but was in part connected with the greater authority which, in antiquity, attached to such renunciation.’
    • ‘It will doubtless surprise some viewers to learn that the monks' daily routine is not dominated by the strict, ascetic activities one might suppose.’
    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.

    • ‘The ascetics would go out and, with great exertion, meditate for months and years under a tree or leaning against a boulder.’
    • ‘They appear as often as not in religious contexts and associated with marginal Christian groups, whether ascetics or heretics.’
    • ‘When you read Bondi on the desert ascetics and medieval mystics, you are there.’
    • ‘Mystics and ascetics have been telling us for ages that the goal of life is to learn how to die.’
    • ‘In all four Vedas, there are references to women ascetics reciting Vedic hymns and even creating mantras.’
    • ‘The protagonist moves through various stages of life, from living with ascetics to participating in the marketplace, neither of which bring satisfaction.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Brahmins and ascetics play their part, but their roles are secondary to those of Ayodhya's ruling family, and the monkey and demon warriors.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘These are the qualities of Siva, the lord of yogis and ascetics.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘He formed an order of ascetics devoted to develop a sense of community with the help of religious injunctions and instructions.’
    • ‘The leaves are said to be invigorating and an aphrodisiac and, therefore, not to be used by celibates and ascetics.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The same goes for gnostic Christianity, where we had the strict ascetics on the one hand and the extreme libertines on the other.’
    • ‘Later, the Fuke school came to be composed primarily of wandering, non-ordained ascetics who specialized in playing the shakuhachi flute.’
    abstainer, recluse, hermit, solitary, anchorite, anchoress, desert saint, celibate, puritan, nun, monk
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Origin

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

Pronunciation

ascetic

/əˈsedik//əˈsɛdɪk/