Also Spar·tan·ic [spahr-tan-ik] /spɑrˈtæn ɪk/. of or relating to Sparta or its people.
(usually lowercase) suggestive of the ancient Spartans; sternly disciplined and rigorously simple, frugal, or austere.
(usually lowercase) brave; undaunted.


a native or inhabitant of Sparta.
a person of Spartan characteristics.

Origin of Spartan

1375–1425; late Middle English < Latin Spartānus, equivalent to Spart(a) Sparta (< Doric Greek Spártā) + -ānus -an
Related formsSpar·tan·ism, nounSpar·tan·ly, Spar·tan·i·cal·ly, adverbnon-Spar·tan, adjective, noun

Synonym study

1. See austere. Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for spartan

Contemporary Examples of spartan

Historical Examples of spartan

  • There was a Spartan law forbidding masters to emancipate their slaves.


    Lydia Maria Child

  • But when they reached Rhegium, the wary Spartan was already beyond their reach.

  • He was long described by his Spartan mother, who thought him a dunce, as only ‘food for powder.’


    Samuel Smiles

  • Plato has criticised this as a marked defect of the Spartan system.

    The Truth About Woman

    C. Gasquoine Hartley

  • It is hard for her to part from you, and she has behaved like a Spartan.

    The First Violin

    Jessie Fothergill

British Dictionary definitions for spartan



of or relating to Sparta or its citizens
(sometimes not capital) very strict or austerea Spartan upbringing
(sometimes not capital) possessing courage and resolve


a citizen of Sparta
(sometimes not capital) a disciplined or brave person
a Canadian variety of eating apple
Derived FormsSpartanism, noun
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 spartan


early 15c., "of or pertaining to the ancient Greek city of Sparta," from Sparta capital of Laconia, famed for severity of its social order, the frugality of its people, the valor of its army, and the brevity of its speech. Meaning "characterized by frugality or courage" is from 1640s.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper