One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1‘he was a conscientious and outwardly austere man’
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
hard, rigorous, stringent, unyielding, unbending, unrelenting, inflexible, illiberal, no-nonsense
informal hard-boiled, hard-nosed
NZ Australian informal solid
2‘I still enjoy this austere and disciplined life’
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
3‘the buildings around me were understated and austere’
plain, simple, basic, functional, modest, unadorned, undecorated, unornamented, unembellished, unostentatious, unfurnished, uncluttered, unfussy, without frills, subdued, muted, restrained
stark, bleak, bare, bald, clinical, sombre, severe, spartan, ascetic
informal no frills
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