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[uh-set-uh-siz-uh m] /əˈsɛt əˌsɪz əm/
the manner of life, practices, or principles of an ascetic.
the doctrine that a person can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing self-denial, self-mortification, and the like.
rigorous self-denial; extreme abstinence; austerity.
Origin of asceticism
First recorded in 1640-50; ascetic + -ism
Related forms
nonasceticism, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for asceticism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • That is the true Christian asceticism, my son, and so it is with our vows.

    The Christian Hall Caine
  • asceticism has no place in this religion; everything in it is bright and sensible.

    History of Religion

    Allan Menzies
  • The basic premise of the Ids is asceticism and there never was any strength in that idea.

    Cubs of the Wolf Raymond F. Jones
  • It is towards that men will strain themselves with the asceticism of saints.

    The Napoleon of Notting Hill Gilbert K. Chesterton
  • In the Christianity of the Gospel there is very little trace of asceticism.

    Joyous Gard Arthur Christopher Benson
  • Our family was warlike and given to mysticism and asceticism.

    Beasts, Men and Gods Ferdinand Ossendowski
  • asceticism does not aim at a harmonious development and never could produce it.


    William Graham Sumner
  • What then is the difference between temperance and asceticism?

    Practical Ethics William DeWitt Hyde
  • asceticism is the control of appetite merely for the sake of controlling it.

    Practical Ethics William DeWitt Hyde
British Dictionary definitions for asceticism


the behaviour, discipline, or outlook of an ascetic, esp of a religious ascetic
the principles of ascetic practices, esp in the early Christian Church
the theory and system of ascetic practices
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for asceticism

1640s, from ascetic (adj.) + -ism. Sometimes also ascetism (c.1850).

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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asceticism in Culture
asceticism [(uh-set-uh-siz-uhm)]

An austere, simple way of life in which persons renounce material pleasures and devote their energy to moral or religious purpose.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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