[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. ascent,
  2. ascertain,
  3. ascertainable,
  4. ascesis,
  5. ascetic,
  6. asch,
  7. asch, sholem,
  8. aschaffenburg,
  9. ascham,
  10. ascham, roger

Origin of asceticism

First recorded in 1640–50; ascetic + -ism

Related formsnon·as·cet·i·cism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for asceticism

British Dictionary definitions for asceticism


/ (əˈsɛtɪˌsɪzəm) /


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

Word Origin and History for asceticism



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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

Culture definitions for 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 Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.