- austere quality; severity of manner, life, etc.; sternness.
- Usually austerities. ascetic practices: austerities of monastery life.
- strict economy.
Origin of austerity
SynonymsSee more synonyms on Thesaurus.com
Examples from the Web for austerity
Now cities are largely on their own, as austerity and gridlock grip Washington.Can America’s Favorite Ex-Con Mayor Win Again?
June 22, 2014
Walmart is about to teach everybody a lesson in how austerity can affect the consumer economy—and quick.Food Stamp Cuts Add to Walmart’s Troubles
November 2, 2013
Pop Art exploded onto the scene as an unexpected post-war party—a daring distraction from the anxieties of an age of austerity.15 Most Bonkers Chairs at Pop Art Design in London
October 23, 2013
Thanks to austerity, about one million government positions have vanished, many of them at the state and local level.A Few Good Bits in a Pretty Bad Jobs Report
October 22, 2013
And, ironically, in this age of austerity, CGI has been doing quite well.The Company That Built Obamacare Is Doing Better Than Ever
October 18, 2013
As a foil to his austerity, therefore, she would be audaciously gay in his presence.The Spenders
Harry Leon Wilson
Sunday comes, and brings with it a day of general gloom and austerity.Sunday under Three Heads
The sternness of age and the austerity of censoriousness are now silent.Imogen
They will require a little wine, to mellow the austerity of age, and make them amenable to the laws.Laws
His laughter shocked the austerity of that same jack-pudding.Captain Blood
- the state or quality of being austere
- (often plural) an austere habit, practice, or act
- reduced availability of luxuries and consumer goods, esp when brought about by government policy
- (as modifier)an austerity budget
Word Origin and History for austerity
mid-14c., "sternness, harshness," from Old French austerite "harshness, cruelty" (14c.) and directly from Late Latin austeritatem (nominative austeritas), from austerus (see austere). Of severe self-discipline, from 1580s; hence "severe simplicity" (1875); applied during World War II to national policies limiting non-essentials as a wartime economy.