• WordNet 3.6
    • adj austere practicing great self-denial "Be systematically for no other reason than that you would rather not do it"- William James","a desert nomad's austere life","a spartan diet","a spartan existence"
    • adj austere of a stern or strict bearing or demeanor; forbidding in aspect "an austere expression","a stern face"
    • adj austere severely simple "a stark interior"
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Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
    • Austere Severe in modes of judging, or living, or acting; rigid; rigorous; stern; as, an austere man, look, life. "From whom the austere Etrurian virtue rose."
    • Austere Sour and astringent; rough to the state; having acerbity; as, an austere crab apple; austere wine.
    • Austere Unadorned; unembellished; severely simple.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
    • austere Sour; harsh; rough to the taste: applied to things: as, austere fruit or wine; “sloes austere,”
    • austere Severe; harsh; rigid; rigorous; stern: applied to persons and things: as, an austere master; an austere look.
    • austere Grave; sober; serious: as, austere deportment.
    • austere Severely simple; unadorned. Synonyms Austere, Severe, Stern, Hard, Harsh, Strict, Rigorous, Rigid, stiff, uncompromising, relentless, may characterize a person's dealings with himself or with others. Austere is the most individual word in the list; it still suggests the etymological sense of dryness and hardness of nature. As applied to manner of life, it implies self-mortification, refusal of pleasure, or the self-infliction of pain, for the purpose of self-discipline. The austere man may treat others as he treats himself; an austere manner is of a corresponding sort. There is no suggestion of hypocrisy or self-righteousness in the word, nor does it go so far as asceticism (see self-denial). Severe starts from the notion of seriousness or freedom from levity, but extends through a wide range, covering most of the meanings of the other words. Stern, while primarily meaning fixed in facial expression, applies to almost anything to which severe can apply. Hard is of the same character, but starts from the notion of physical hardness, proceeding thence to mean difficult to endure, unfeeling, etc. Harsh primarily expresses physical roughness, as a harsh touch, and retains some figurative suggestion akin to that idea. Strict is drawn close, tense, not relaxed, observing exact rules for one's self or requiring such observance from others. Rigorous means, literally, stiff, and hence allowing no abatement or mitigation; inflexible; unsparing. Rigid is the same as rigorous, but with somewhat more of the original figurativeness than in rigorous; both are opposed to lax or indulgent. Rigid is more often used of unnecessary, overwrought, or narrow-minded strictness than rigorous. We speak of austere morality; a severe aspect, treatment, tone; a stern rebuke; a hard master, voice, judgment; harsh enforcement of laws; strict rules, discipline, repression of mischief; rigorous justice; rigid adherence to petty restrictions. See acrimony.
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Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
    • adj Austere aws-tēr′ harsh: severe: stern: grave: sober: severe in self-discipline, strictly moral or abstinent: severely simple, without luxury
    • ***


  • Alexander Herzen
    “Liberalism, austere in political trifles, has learned ever more artfully to unite a constant protest against the government with a constant submission to it.”
  • Bertrand Russell
    “Mathematics, rightly viewed, poses not only truth, but supreme beauty a beauty cold and austere, like that of sculpture.”
  • Sila-Prabhrita
    “Mercy to living beings, self restraint, truth, honesty, chastity and contentment, right faith and knowledge, and austerity are but the entourage of morality.”
  • Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe
    “Austere perseverance, hash and continuous... rarely fails of its purpose, for its silent power grows irresistible greater with time.”
  • James Reston
    James Reston
    “Americans have always been able to handle austerity and even adversity. Prosperity is what is doing us in.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
F. austère, L. austerus, fr. Gr. , fr. to parch, dry. Cf. Sear
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
L. austerus—Gr. austērosau-ein, to dry.


In literature:

The independent offspring of the ignoble freedom of the slums full of disdain and hate for the austere servitude of the sea.
"The Nigger Of The "Narcissus" A Tale Of The Forecastle" by Joseph Conrad
He saw, also unintelligently, the austerity in hers.
"The Helpmate" by May Sinclair
He had the look of a self-righteous ascetic, and dressed with puritanical austerity.
"Boy Woodburn" by Alfred Ollivant
Burnished gold had been laid upon its austere contours.
"Roads from Rome" by Anne C. E. Allinson
Evelyn's face is anxious and austere, suggesting the sort of stuff of which soldiers or saints are made.
"Among Famous Books" by John Kelman
My father's deportment, in a short time, grew sullen and austere.
"Arthur Mervyn" by Charles Brockden Brown
As though in response came Mr. Gwynn, irreproachable, austere.
"The President" by Alfred Henry Lewis
Men and women of austere mind do not fascinate their fellow-creatures.
"Shadows of the Stage" by William Winter
But their landscape is often tragic and austere, while this is always suave.
"Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Vol III." by John Symonds
A certain austerity defines it from more picturesque hill-cities with a less uniform history.
"Sketches and Studies in Italy and Greece, Complete" by John Symonds
Knox invested himself with the austere authority of the Hebrew prophet; Calvin was fain to hew Agag in pieces before the Lord.
"Platform Monologues" by T. G. Tucker
Within, as well as without, the eternal rapping of knuckles and proclaiming of new austerities goes on.
"A Book of Prefaces" by H. L. Mencken
The most austere manner of living was enforced.
"The New World of Islam" by Lothrop Stoddard
But their landscape is often tragic and austere, while this is always suave.
"New Italian sketches" by John Addington Symonds
His spirit grew austere, but in his austerity there was an inexpressible joy.
"A History of French Literature" by Edward Dowden
For our Poet we now claim the privilege, at once bright and austere, of death.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 56, Number 347, September, 1844" by Various
Cagliostro recoiled in abhorrence before a spectacle at once so austere and lascivious.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine - Volume 62, No. 384, October 1847" by Various
Early, too, is the fine austere portrait of Lorenzo Giustiniani, in the Academy.
"The Venetian School of Painting" by Evelyn March Phillipps
Had she been less austere she might, perhaps, have prevailed with the girl.
"Marion Fay" by Anthony Trollope
They went into the dim, white room where swathed presences stood as if austerely welcoming them.
"Tante" by Anne Douglas Sedgwick

In poetry:

Ever inweaving, returning,
The near grows out of the far;
And Homer shall sing once more in a swing
Of the austere Polar Star.
"The Poet's Town" by John Gneisenau Neihardt
Shines the lily like the sun,
Crystal-pure, a cold, sweet nun;
With her austere lip she sings
To her heart of heavenly things.
"Shamrock Song" by Katharine Tynan
So he sang of worlds austere and strange,
Of seas so wildly wide
That only the journeying swan might range
The marches of the tide.
"The Hearer" by Marjorie Lowry Christie Pickthall
Then, swayed by memory's fancy, stroll
To where from May-day's flaming pyre
Savonarola's austere soul
Went up to Heaven in tongues of fire;
"The Door Of Humility" by Alfred Austin
Austere in taste, and tough at core,
Its unrelenting bulk was shed,
To ripen in the Pilgrim’s store
When all the summer sweets were fled.
"The New Eden" by Oliver Wendell Holmes
The arts are old, old as the stones
From which man carved the sphinx austere.
Deep are the days the old arts bring:
Ten thousand years of yesteryear.
"Mae Marsh, Motion Picture Actress" by Vachel Lindsay

In news:

Spain is setting out an austerity budget of over $50 billion of cuts as it prepares to ask the rest of the Eurozone to save their floundering economy.
Workers across Europe mounted coordinated protests on Wednesday against government austerity policies in a time of economic malaise.
Sudanese police used tear gas and batons on Wednesday to stop protests in Darfur's biggest city Nyala against the government and its austerity program, a day after eight protesters were killed in the worst violence since June, witnesses said.
I don't know if they still do it, but bookstores in college towns used to keep the novels of Paul Auster behind the cash register, out of customers' reach.
Demonstrators take part in a march in protest against the government's austerity measures on October 20, 2012 in London.
With government scratching for every dime in these austere times, the state of Georgia could find a bonanza in switching its election process.
Lakeshore Entertainment is going to " Timbuktu ," acquiring feature rights to Paul Auster's novel and attaching Diane English to write and direct.
Republicans won enough crucial races Tuesday to retain control of the House of Representatives, beating back a strong Democratic challenge and allowing the GOP to keep pushing an agenda of fiscal austerity.
EU finance ministers gather to take stock of financial crisis, Greek austerity proposals.
The International Monetary Fund insisted Tuesday (local time) that US lawmakers head off automatic austerity measures before the end of 2012.
Paul Auster, author of 'New York Trilogy', remains perhaps.
Paul Auster still does not understand why Lucas Duda matters to him.
Greece, troika won't get austerity deal before Monday eurogroup.
But for Kate Middleton and Prince William's nups, the term "austerity chic" is being bandied about.
Nobel's austerity-hit banquet still a lavish affair .

In science:

One can easily imagine more intricate notions of efficiency, our point here is that even in this austere model, the power of the adversary is non-trivial.
Social Networks and Stable Matchings in the Job Market
Theodor Reye, whose lectures on von Staudt’s approach to pro jective geometry were first published in 1866 , says in his preface that the austere language, the extreme abstractness of presentation, and the lack of diagrams have hindered the well-deserved recognition of von Staudt’s work.
Publication history of von Staudt's Geometrie der Lage
One of the main reasons for studying 3D gravity models is in reality to try to find out a gravity system with less austere ultraviolet divergences in perturbation theory.
Some interesting features of new massive gravity
Default is preempted by the impact of the negotiations between Greece and the European Union including a 53.5% haircut, austerity and ESPF loans as shown in pro jections for 2012 and 2013 (green circles) according to estimates reported in Ref. .
The European debt crisis: Defaults and market equilibrium
TABLE I: Values used for debt ratio pro jections - Austerity targets for the budget ratio st and pro jections of the GDP change yt for the five countries we considered.
The European debt crisis: Defaults and market equilibrium