V2 Vocabulary Building Dictionary



Definition: 1. stern, strict, or harsh in manner; 2. bare or unadorned; 3. indicating self-denial or lack of comfort

Synonyms: severe, strict, stern, harsh, unadorned, plain, simple, forbidding, stringent, ascetic, solemn

Antonyms: luxurious, self-indulgent

Tips: Austere comes from the Greek austeros, which means "dry or harsh." Think of barren land with nothing but dirt, and think of harsh conditions. The noun austerity tends to denote something that is severe in discipline or self-denial, especially in economic terms. For a memory trick, note how austere looks like a combination of Austin (like Austin, Texas) and "steer." A steer is a male cow, so imagine how austere (harsh, barren, without luxury) a steer's life can be. They only have grass to chew on and water to drink; that's it! Now that's an austere life, so you can imagine the austere (harsh, stern) demeanor or lifestyle an Austin steer may have.

Usage Examples:

With the war abroad, many families faced increased austerity in their home lives. (self-denial, simplicity) noun

The children were nervous in the presence of the austere and intimidating instructor. (stern, forbidding)

The couple had difficulty decorating their house because she preferred a lot of luxurious adornment, while he would have rather lived in an austere, sparsely furnished home. (unadorned, plain)

His austere manner made it hard for Charles to meet new people and make friends. (stern, harsh)

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