austere

[aw-steer]
adjective
1.
severe in manner or appearance; uncompromising; strict; forbidding: an austere teacher.
2.
rigorously self-disciplined and severely moral; ascetic; abstinent: the austere quality of life in the convent.
3.
grave; sober; solemn; serious: an austere manner.
4.
without excess, luxury, or ease; simple; limited; severe: an austere life.
5.
severely simple; without ornament: austere writing.
6.
lacking softness; hard: an austere bed of straw.
7.
rough to the taste; sour or harsh in flavor.

Origin:
1300–50; Middle English (< Anglo-French) < Latin austērus < Greek austērós harsh, rough, bitter

austerely, adverb
austereness, noun
unaustere, adjective
unausterely, adverb


4. Austere, bleak, spartan, stark all suggest lack of ornament or adornment and of a feeling of comfort or warmth. Austere usually implies a purposeful avoidance of luxury or ease: simple, stripped-down, austere surroundings. Bleak adds a sense of forbidding coldness, hopelessness, depression: a bleak, dreary, windswept plain. Spartan somewhat more forceful than austere, implies stern discipline and rigorous, even harsh, avoidance of all that is not strictly functional: a life of Spartan simplicity. Stark shares with bleak a sense of grimness and desolation: the stark cliff face.


4. luxurious, comfortable, lush; sybaritic.
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World English Dictionary
austere (ɒˈstɪə)
 
adj
1.  stern or severe in attitude or manner: an austere schoolmaster
2.  grave, sober, or serious: an austere expression
3.  self-disciplined, abstemious, or ascetic: an austere life
4.  severely simple or plain: an austere design
 
[C14: from Old French austère, from Latin austērus sour, from Greek austēros astringent; related to Greek hauein to dry]
 
aus'terely
 
adv
 
aus'tereness
 
n

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
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Etymonline
Word Origin & History

austere
early 14c., from L. austerus "dry, harsh, sour, tart," from Gk. austeros "bitter, harsh," especially "making the tongue dry" (originally used of fruits, wines), related to auos "dry," auein "to dry" (see aurora). Use in English is figurative: "stern, severe, very simple."
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
But in austere times, even the rich and famous dial it down.
It was after dark by the time Waldo returned to the cinder-block cabin that,
  all winter long, centered his austere homestead.
The writing is austere, studied, abstract but intelligent withal.
Beyond that, he's not planning on any big changes in his austere lifestyle.
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