[ aw-ster-i-tee ]
/ ɔˈstɛr ɪ ti /

noun, plural aus·ter·i·ties.

austere quality; severity of manner, life, etc.; sternness.
Usually austerities. ascetic practices: austerities of monastery life.
strict economy.

Nearby words

  1. austenitic stainless steel,
  2. austenitize,
  3. auster,
  4. austere,
  5. austerely,
  6. austerlitz,
  7. austin,
  8. austin flint murmur,
  9. austin friar,
  10. austin, alfred

Origin of austerity

1300–50; Middle English austerite < Anglo-French, Old French austerite < Latin austēritās. See austere, -ity Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for austerity

British Dictionary definitions for austerity


/ (ɒˈstɛrɪtɪ) /

noun plural -ties

the state or quality of being austere
(often plural) 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

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