[ uh-set-ik ]
/ əˈsɛt ɪk /


a person who dedicates his or her life to a pursuit of contemplative ideals and practices extreme self-denial or self-mortification for religious reasons.
a person who leads an austerely simple life, especially one who abstains from the normal pleasures of life or denies himself or herself material satisfaction.
(in the early Christian church) a monk; hermit.

adjective Also as·cet·i·cal.

relating to asceticism, the doctrine that one can reach a high spiritual state through the practice of extreme self-denial or self-mortification.
rigorously abstinent; austere: an ascetic existence.
exceedingly strict or severe in religious exercises or self-mortification.

Origin of ascetic

1640–50; < Greek askētikós subject to rigorous exercise, hardworking, equivalent to askē- (see askesis) + -tikos -tic

Related forms

Can be confused

acetic aesthetic ascetic Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for ascetic

British Dictionary definitions for ascetic


/ (əˈsɛtɪk) /


a person who practises great self-denial and austerities and abstains from worldly comforts and pleasures, esp for religious reasons
(in the early Christian Church) a monk

adjective Also: as'cetical

rigidly abstinent or abstemious; austere
of or relating to ascetics or asceticism
intensely rigorous in religious austerities

Derived Forms

ascetically, adverb

Word Origin for ascetic

C17: from Greek askētikos, from askētēs, from askein to exercise
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