Meaning of austerity in English:


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mass noun
  • 1Sternness or severity of manner or attitude.

    ‘he was noted for his austerity and his authoritarianism’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Virgil's purpose was moral, and his main concern is to describe the farmer's virtues of austerity, integrity, and hard work, which made Rome great.’
    • ‘He was a mix of austerity and kindness, often a sweet and solicitous friend.’
    • ‘In observable characteristics, Saturn depicts someone who is characterised by austerity or seriousness.’
    • ‘She has added an element of sophisticated glamour to his image of Presbyterian austerity.’
    • ‘The austerity that one normally associates with courthouses is also quickly dispelled by the sight of a roaring open fire, a sight to delight on a cold, wet January night.’
    sternness, austereness, severity, strictness, grimness, seriousness, sombreness, graveness, gravity, soberness, stiffness, dourness, flintiness, stoniness, steeliness
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    1. 1.1Plainness and simplicity in appearance.
      ‘the room was decorated with a restraint bordering on austerity’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘At times, however, music of great austerity and purity is shattered by painful, pounding discords.’
      • ‘Particularly relevant is Hawes's preference for an architecture of honesty and austerity, stripped of unnecessary embellishment and free of copyism.’
      • ‘I especially love Inuit art for its austerity and cleanliness.’
      • ‘In this historical context, the director's main aim is to remind the audience of virtues such as coherence, austerity, passion and faith.’
      • ‘A lot of the architecture in the city centre as a whole dates from the turn of the 19th century into the 20th and is a mixture of Victorian austerity and art nouveau decadence.’
      • ‘Like it or not, the beauty of mathematics springs from its rigorous austerity.’
      • ‘It had charm despite its austerity: a few books and an empty vase on the sideboard.’
      • ‘His uncanny, unmistakable style crossed Cubist austerity with lush Surrealism.’
      plainness, absence of adornment, lack of adornment, absence of decoration, lack of decoration, absence of ornament, absence of ornamentation, lack of ornament, lack of ornamentation, absence of embellishment, lack of embellishment, unpretentiousness
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    2. 1.2usually austeritiescount noun A feature of an austere way of life.
      ‘his uncle's austerities had undermined his health’
      • ‘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.’
      • ‘The mind is not softened by fasting or austerities.’
      • ‘Many also practised severe austerities, subjecting themselves to extremes of temperature, hunger and thirst, painful bodily distortions, and various other kinds of self-denial.’
      • ‘Alive, they lit fewer votive candles, and showed less interest in religious confraternities or the austerities of the monastic life.’
      • ‘During his extensive wanderings, he practiced great austerities, but apparently became disillusioned with these methods.’
      • ‘Suddenly, the austerities of the past two months, as well as the glorious thoughts, dreams and visions all merged within my consciousness.’
      • ‘By reciting certain mantras and performing austerities one's consciousness is expanded and one develops supernatural abilities.’
      • ‘As he approaches 80, he seems to be relaxing some of the long-held austerities of his art.’
      • ‘The four-and-a-half hours of sleep a night is only part of the austerities practiced here.’
      • ‘They are not formally bound to the evangelical counsels of perfection nor do they practice visible austerities.’
      • ‘The austerities of the Second World War and its aftermath put an end to whimsical parties.’
  • 2Difficult economic conditions created by government measures to reduce public expenditure.

    ‘the country was subjected to acute economic austerity’
    • ‘the austerities of post-war London’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘The continuation of economic austerity policies under these conditions has provoked a wave of upheavals throughout the continent.’
    • ‘The austerity measures have created a pool of discontented young men, with no prospect of a job or a future, who are being exploited by militia leaders for their own ends.’
    • ‘Further cuts and austerity measures affecting social expenditure can already be foreseen.’
    • ‘Earlier this year, China launched austerity measures to reduce the amount of construction activity in leading cities to prevent the economy from overheating.’
    • ‘The downturn in the economy caused the government to impose harsh austerity measures.’
    • ‘The new austerity measures include higher taxes on wages and pensions and a value-added tax on services, such as transportation, which up to now had been exempt.’
    • ‘The protesters are demanding the government rescind a series of austerity measures that would tax workers' wages and pensions.’
    • ‘In this manner the culture of austerity forces otherwise reluctant workers into the labour market thus helps keep wages down.…’
    • ‘After the devastation of war and years of austerity, the Festival aimed to raise the nation's spirits whilst promoting the very best in British art, design and industry.’
    • ‘The festival aimed to raise the nation's spirits following the war and years of austerity, whilst promoting the very best in British art, design and industry.’
    • ‘If the European Commission and EcoFin can actually manage to force Germany and France into austerity programs with the threat of fiscal sanctions, then the supranational argument wins the day.’
    • ‘When Canadians patiently accepted cutbacks to health care, unemployment insurance, and many other social programs, we were told that all this austerity was necessary to attract foreign investors.’
    • ‘The subject of the campaign, ironically, is fiscal austerity,’ Campbell said in a press release.’
    • ‘After the lean austerity of the war years a growing number of Australian fashion designers were able to source a wide range of materials to create stunning garments for all manner of social occasions.’
    • ‘But after 1945, Britain was marked by austerity.’
    • ‘The war years brought loss of loved ones, social change, times of austerity, an awareness of New Zealand's vulnerability, and defence measures.’
    • ‘Oh, well, in the war, of course it was austerity; the whole centre of Manchester was totally destroyed.’
    • ‘Moreover, colourful and spectacular films provided a welcome means of escape from the austerities of the post-war era.’
    restraint, moderation, economy, severity, abstemiousness, frugality, rigour, continence
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/ɔːˈstɛrɪti/ /ɒˈstɛrɪti/


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