Definition of austere in English:

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Pronunciation: /ôˈstir/

adjective (austerer, austerest)

1Severe or strict in manner, attitude, or appearance: an austere man, with a rigidly puritanical outlook an austere expression
More example sentences
  • He was faulted for refusing to delegate and for favouring incompetent friends, while his austere and overbearing manner led to clashes with state governors and military commanders.
  • But I must warn you, once we get past the hallway and into the room, the occupants are rather strict and austere.
  • Peter expected high standards, but his sometimes austere manner veiled a deep concern for people and an insight into the human condition.
severe, stern, strict, harsh, steely, flinty, dour, grim, cold, frosty, unemotional, unfriendly;
formal, stiff, reserved, aloof, forbidding;
grave, solemn, serious, unsmiling, unsympathetic, unforgiving;
hard, unyielding, unbending, inflexible
informal hard-boiled
1.1(Of living conditions or a way of life) having no comforts or luxuries; harsh or ascetic: conditions in the prison could hardly be more austere
More example sentences
  • I have lived and worked in austere conditions, lifted and carried heavy equipment and never hesitated to assist in the effort to help the enemy die for their country.
  • The squadron face austere conditions in the desert, living under canvas.
  • Creatures that occupy the Sonoran Desert have evolved over time to survive under notoriously austere conditions.
ascetic, self-denying, self-disciplined, nonindulgent, frugal, spartan, puritanical, abstemious, abstinent, self-sacrificing, strict, temperate, sober, simple, restrained;
celibate, chaste
1.2Having an extremely plain and simple style or appearance; unadorned: the cathedral is impressive in its austere simplicity
More example sentences
  • The interior is breathtakingly austere in appearance; simple but effective use of lighting creates the appropriate atmosphere.
  • At the moment I am considering making my website very austere and plain… you know, seeing that the prints themselves have enough to say without having to compete with the graphics, or something.
  • All of this is presented in a style that is both austere and beautiful - plain as can be, yet suffused with an appreciation for artifice as a way of survival.
plain, simple, basic, functional, modest, unadorned, unembellished, unfussy, restrained;
stark, bleak, bare, clinical, spartan, ascetic
informal no-frills, bare-bones
1.3(Of an economic policy or measure) designed to reduce a budget deficit, especially by cutting public expenditure.
Example sentences
  • The net result is that public support for governmental austere economic policies has been questionable.
  • Here in Brazil, he has defended austere monetary and fiscal policies, and externally he is seen as the champion of the poor.
  • What may have compelled such austere policies?



Pronunciation: /ôˈstirlē/
Example sentences
  • His early works are romantic treatments of subjects from Ovid and Tasso; later he developed an austerely classical style.
  • It is austerely modernist, making little concession to either plot or character, more like a fictive sculpture than a story, an obsessively repeated series of patterns.
  • His status among the people was consolidated by his lifestyle - he lived austerely, and never married.


Middle English: via Old French from Latin austerus, from Greek austēros 'severe'.

Words that rhyme with austere

adhere, Agadir, Anglosphere, appear, arrear, auctioneer, balladeer, bandolier, Bashkir, beer, besmear, bier, blear, bombardier, brigadier, buccaneer, cameleer, career, cashier, cavalier, chandelier, charioteer, cheer, chevalier, chiffonier, clavier, clear, Coetzee, cohere, commandeer, conventioneer, Cordelier, corsetière, Crimea, dear, deer, diarrhoea (US diarrhea), domineer, Dorothea, drear, ear, electioneer, emir, endear, engineer, fear, fleer, Freer, fusilier, gadgeteer, Galatea, gazetteer, gear, gondolier, gonorrhoea (US gonorrhea), Greer, grenadier, hand-rear, hear, here, Hosea, idea, interfere, Izmir, jeer, Judaea, Kashmir, Keir, kir, Korea, Lear, leer, Maria, marketeer, Medea, Meir, Melilla, mere, Mia, Mir, mishear, mountaineer, muleteer, musketeer, mutineer, near, orienteer, pamphleteer, panacea, paneer, peer, persevere, pier, Pierre, pioneer, pistoleer, privateer, profiteer, puppeteer, racketeer, ratafia, rear, revere, rhea, rocketeer, Sapir, scrutineer, sear, seer, sere, severe, Shamir, shear, sheer, sincere, smear, sneer, sonneteer, souvenir, spear, sphere, steer, stere, summiteer, Tangier, tear, tier, Trier, Tyr, veer, veneer, Vere, Vermeer, vizier, volunteer, Wear, weir, we're, year, Zaïre

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: aus·tere

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