Try Our Apps


Avoid these words. Seriously.


[aw-ster-i-tee] /ɔˈstɛr ɪ ti/
noun, plural austerities.
austere quality; severity of manner, life, etc.; sternness.
Usually, austerities. ascetic practices:
austerities of monastery life.
strict economy.
Origin of austerity
1300-50; Middle English austerite < Anglo-French, Old French austerite < Latin austēritās. See austere, -ity
1. harshness, strictness, asceticism, rigor. 2. See hardship.
1. leniency. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
Cite This Source
Examples from the Web for austerity
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • 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 Charles Dickens
  • The sternness of age and the austerity of censoriousness are now silent.

    Imogen William Godwin
  • They will require a little wine, to mellow the austerity of age, and make them amenable to the laws.

    Laws Plato
  • His laughter shocked the austerity of that same jack-pudding.

    Captain Blood Rafael Sabatini
British Dictionary definitions for austerity


noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being austere
(often pl) an austere habit, practice, or act
  1. reduced availability of luxuries and consumer goods, esp when brought about by government policy
  2. (as modifier): an austerity budget
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
Cite This Source
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.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
Cite This Source

Word of the Day

Nearby words for austerity

Word Value for austerity

Scrabble Words With Friends