Definition of austere in English:

austere

adjective

  • 1Severe or strict in manner, attitude, or appearance.

    ‘an austere man, with a rigidly puritanical outlook’
    ‘an austere expression’
    • ‘An austere and formal man, his affection for his wife and seven living children was minimal.’
    • ‘Peter expected high standards, but his sometimes austere manner veiled a deep concern for people and an insight into the human condition.’
    • ‘His spokesman says the king is a reserved, austere man.’
    • ‘The last thing I could remember is the physician giving me an anesthetic shot and Matik's austere expression.’
    • ‘He was faulted for refusing to delegate and for favouring incompetent friends, while his austere and overbearing manner led to clashes with state governors and military commanders.’
    • ‘Cookie, realizing exactly how her words must have sounded, cracked a smile as well, softening her austere expression somewhat.’
    • ‘He is not magnetic but on the contrary cold and austere.’
    • ‘He seems a somewhat austere and unsympathetic figure and his verses today seem dull and obscure, in translation at least.’
    • ‘Ishmael was struck by the man's austere expression.’
    • ‘Reflects Meyers: ‘Orwell's austere, dour, spartan and ascetic character as well as his tall, gangly figure was more Scottish than English.’’
    • ‘Yes, well, it's almost a transformation of these serious and austere people.’
    • ‘But I must warn you, once we get past the hallway and into the room, the occupants are rather strict and austere.’
    • ‘His cold manner, dogmatic socialism, and austere disposition did not endear him to everyone, least of all to Churchill, but he had a brilliant brain, and was too valuable to lose.’
    • ‘He looks and sounds every inch the austere, reserved and respected university lecturer that he once was.’
    • ‘He was gifted with a great sense of humour, and it was unsuspected by those who did not know him really well because of his austere appearance.’
    • ‘He comes over as a rather serious, studious and austere man, but there is clearly another side to him.’
    • ‘He is very reserved and austere, just as you would imagine a grand old man of ancient times to be.’
    • ‘He is seen, with some justification, as a cold, austere writer, one who belongs to a line that includes Thomas Mann and Samuel Beckett rather than more marketable writers.’
    • ‘Obvious concern was etched on her face, making it loose its austere quality.’
    • ‘He was austere, dour, kind, and hard working.’
    severe, stern, strict, harsh, unfeeling, stony, steely, flinty, dour, grim, cold, frosty, frigid, icy, chilly, unemotional, unfriendly, formal, stiff, stuffy, reserved, remote, distant, aloof, forbidding, mean-looking, grave, solemn, serious, unsmiling, unsympathetic, unforgiving, uncharitable
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    1. 1.1 (of living conditions or a way of life) having no comforts or luxuries; harsh or ascetic.
      ‘conditions in the prison could hardly be more austere’
      • ‘The space itself is minimally arranged: it is clinical, but not austere - a type of investigation room.’
      • ‘Thank you for publicizing the hard work our Air Force professionals accomplish in such austere conditions.’
      • ‘On the other hand William was totally unpretentious and extremely austere in his living arrangements.’
      • ‘Everyone likes the warm and comforting feel of the garden - it is not austere.’
      • ‘Living conditions, austere at best, included leased warehouses not designed as living quarters or office space.’
      • ‘Combining a depressing ending and austere realism with an idealistic, descriptive story is one of Hemingway's particulars of style.’
      • ‘During her month in the 1950s, Hina had to endure strict discipline, austere meals, outdoor swimming and incessant tests.’
      • ‘Justinian led an austere life, working hard for long hours and expecting the same of subordinates.’
      • ‘Creatures that occupy the Sonoran Desert have evolved over time to survive under notoriously austere conditions.’
      • ‘They were the toilers and savers of the economic miracle generation who forswore luxuries in the austere postwar decades to reserve their place in the sun towards the end of their lives.’
      • ‘The conditions are austere: one book for ten children, a tiny blackboard and a roof with holes.’
      • ‘‘He was taken away from his mother and brought up in a cold, austere home with little affection or comfort,’ Cynthia writes.’
      • ‘Hard-edged surfaces can make bathrooms seem cold and austere.’
      • ‘The squadron face austere conditions in the desert, living under canvas.’
      • ‘A drab, austere society had suddenly been plunged into a more competitive, glamorized world in the 1970s and 1980s.’
      • ‘Discipline will be strict, meals will be austere and she will be allowed to write to her family only once a week.’
      • ‘I have lived and worked in austere conditions, lifted and carried heavy equipment and never hesitated to assist in the effort to help the enemy die for their country.’
      • ‘But what tempts these youngsters to leave the security of home and lucrative jobs for an austere lifestyle of development work in India?’
      • ‘As well, the austere lifestyle chosen by King Ferdinand and his lords could be the medieval equivalent of today's self-improvement craze.’
      • ‘Though he decided against monastic life, he found the austere lifestyle an important model.’
      strict, self-denying, self-abnegating, moderate, temperate, sober, simple, frugal, spartan, restrained, self-restrained, self-disciplined, non-indulgent, ascetic, puritanical, self-sacrificing, hair-shirt, abstemious, abstinent, celibate, chaste, continent
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    2. 1.2 Having an extremely plain and simple style or appearance; unadorned.
      ‘the cathedral is impressive in its austere simplicity’
      • ‘There was no simple retreat from austere aristocratic classicism to bourgeois romanticism.’
      • ‘She had no formal training but developed a rigorous, austere style, counter-pointed by a sensuous use of color, which she maintained for many decades.’
      • ‘On a technical level, the look of the film is deceptively simple and austere.’
      • ‘The cathedral, which must have been brilliantly decorated when it was a Catholic place of worship, is very austere in the Reformist manner.’
      • ‘Bresson developed an austere formalist style that placed him in a pivotal role in the development of modern cinema.’
      • ‘It was a gorgeous, awe-inspiring piece of modern machinery - almost Zen-like in its shining simplicity and austere precision.’
      • ‘These pieces are austere and unadorned in a way that I'd associate with Shaker simplicity and grace.’
      • ‘Mathematics, rightly viewed, possesses not only truth but supreme beauty, a beauty cold and austere like that of sculpture.’
      • ‘He is the most rigorous, spare, austere of film-makers.’
      • ‘It forcibly reduces this complexity and diversity to an austere homogenous simplicity.’
      • ‘Harris's influence, however, isn't apparent in the serious, austere and occasionally beautiful music on this disk.’
      • ‘Here is something designed to be functional and austere.’
      • ‘All of this is presented in a style that is both austere and beautiful - plain as can be, yet suffused with an appreciation for artifice as a way of survival.’
      • ‘He has purchased a wide range of artwork, including colorful, cartoonish prints and wild abstracts framed in austere black mouldings.’
      • ‘At the moment I am considering making my website very austere and plain… you know, seeing that the prints themselves have enough to say without having to compete with the graphics, or something.’
      • ‘Church buildings and worship were austere and simple, and the service mainly consisted of lengthy sermons.’
      • ‘The compound loomed in front of him, the cement walls austere and forbidding.’
      • ‘Like much of the liturgical music of the Orthodox tradition, Tavener's music is intentionally simple and even austere.’
      • ‘Presentation is austere: the hardback, which is matt black with silvered lettering, has no dust jacket, no tables, and no illustrations.’
      • ‘The interior is breathtakingly austere in appearance; simple but effective use of lighting creates the appropriate atmosphere.’
      plain, simple, basic, functional, modest, unadorned, undecorated, unornamented, unembellished, unostentatious, unfurnished, uncluttered, unfussy, without frills, subdued, muted, restrained
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    3. 1.3 (of an economic policy or measure) designed to reduce a budget deficit, especially by cutting public expenditure.
      • ‘What may have compelled such austere policies?’
      • ‘The net result is that public support for governmental austere economic policies has been questionable.’
      • ‘What we want is abundant savings and investment in private enterprises, and a lean, austere, low-budget, minimal government.’
      • ‘He also surprised his listeners by proposing an austere economic policy that would keep interest rates at levels as high as needed to control the growing inflation.’
      • ‘This resulted, uniformly, in austere macroeconomic policies that emphasized liberalization, export orientation, and an end to social subsidies.’
      • ‘We inherited those austere policies and the consequences of them.’
      • ‘Even rich countries like Canada have been forced to adopt austere budget policies to cope with currency-induced turmoil.’
      • ‘But he insisted that he was trying to return to the traditions of Gladstone's austere Victorian budgets - fairer and simpler taxes, and tight control on spending.’
      • ‘Employment with a foreign aid agency became the best way to earn a substantial salary in a competitive and still austere economy.’
      • ‘Here in Brazil, he has defended austere monetary and fiscal policies, and externally he is seen as the champion of the poor.’
      • ‘The budget - the most austere of Bush's presidency - would eliminate or vastly scale back 150 government programs.’
      • ‘The marketing budget is also necessarily austere, but at least it is cheap in a creative way.’
      • ‘School districts have a finite amount of resources - resources which are especially limited in fiscally austere times like our current recession.’

Origin

Middle English: via Old French from Latin austerus, from Greek austēros ‘severe’.

Pronunciation

austere

/ôˈstir//ɔˈstɪr/