Definition of austerity in English:

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Pronunciation: /ɒˈstɛrɪti/
Pronunciation: /ɔːˈstɛrɪti/

noun (plural austerities)

[mass noun]
1Sternness or severity of manner or attitude: he was noted for his austerity and his authoritarianism
More example sentences
  • Idealism, integrity, austerity, sacrifice; these were the signatures of the middle class to which they belonged.
  • His chin is firm, mouth straight and serious, a hint of austerity balanced by humour in the corners.
  • Joyce regards his world variously, with rigorous irony, satiric austerity - yet with unflagging magnanimity and pervasive humor.
1.1Plainness and simplicity in appearance: the room was decorated with a restraint bordering on austerity
More example sentences
  • There is elegance to the restraint and austerity of the imagery that extends to, or perhaps finds inspiration in, the clean utility of the printed page.
  • The simplicity and the austerity of Huguenot ritual reflects their thoroughgoing sense of the difference between physical and spiritual ‘death.’
  • The geometric segments of the sails have a quite mathematical purity and austerity.
1.2 [count noun] (usually austerities) A feature of an austere way of life: his uncle’s austerities had undermined his health
More example sentences
  • She matured, and the family she came from grew into power and riches, during the last, magnificent flowering of the Papacy before it was threatened by the austerities of the Reformation.
  • That is not to say that we must deliberately seek out physical austerities, because this may have the wrong effect.
  • Such austerities were employed in an attempt to gain insight into the fundamental nature of existence.
2Difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure: the country was subjected to acute economic austerity [count noun]: (austerities) the austerities of post-war London
More example sentences
  • International financial investors appeared satisfied, at least for the moment, with a new round of economic austerity measures that provoked crippling strikes by the Argentine workers last week.
  • A small degree of economic growth was recorded in 1995, despite a sense of economic crisis in the country, which led to the introduction of economic austerity measures.
  • A program of austerity measures and economic reforms may please foreign capital but it will not guarantee popular support.


Late Middle English: from French austérité, from Latin austeritas, from austerus 'severe' (see austere).

Words that rhyme with austerity

ambidexterity, asperity, celerity, dexterity, ferrety, posterity, prosperity, severity, sincerity, temerity, verity

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: aus¦ter|ity

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