noun, plural austerities.
austere quality; severity of manner, life, etc.; sternness.
Usually, austerities. ascetic practices: austerities of monastery life.
strict economy.

1300–50; Middle English austerite < Anglo-French, Old French austerite < Latin austēritās. See austere, -ity

1. harshness, strictness, asceticism, rigor. 2. See hardship.

1. leniency. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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World English Dictionary
austerity (ɒˈstɛrɪtɪ)
n , pl -ties
1.  the state or quality of being austere
2.  (often plural) an austere habit, practice, or act
3.  a.  reduced availability of luxuries and consumer goods, esp when brought about by government policy
 b.  (as modifier): an austerity budget

Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 10th Edition
2009 © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009
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Word Origin & History

mid-14c., "sternness, harshness," from O.Fr. austerite (14c.), from L.L. austeritatem (nom. austeritas), from austerus (see austere). Of severe self-discipline, from 1580s; hence "severe simplicity" (1875); applied during WWII to national policies limiting non-essentials as a wartime economy.
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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Example sentences
The austerities which he practised are rather to be admired than imitated.
He would abate nothing of his usual austerities, without an absolute necessity.
Whatever austerities he prescribed to others he was the first to practise
  himself remitting nothing of them even in his old age.
The penitential austerities which she practised, were such as seemed rather to
  suit a recluse than one who lived in a court.
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