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[aw-ster-i-tee] /ɔˈstɛr ɪ ti/
noun, plural austerities.
austere quality; severity of manner, life, etc.; sternness.
Usually, austerities. ascetic practices:
austerities of monastery life.
strict economy.
Origin of austerity
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. 2015.
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Examples from the web for austerity
  • There is no evidence of austerity, no look of miserliness.
  • The paleness of his countenance bespoke the austerity of his life.
  • The new regime imposed iron austerity and crushing taxes.
  • But it doesn't sound like there is any intention of having this be a short-term austerity measure.
  • Faculty morale has been hurt by colleges' austerity measures, even if professors still have jobs.
  • The social life of postwar London was considerably dampened by the austerity and continued rationing.
  • We have been indoctrinated that in a crisis, austerity is the correct approach, even if we don't like it.
  • Solving this problem will require domestic austerity and a move toward trade surpluses.
  • The modern market surges and thrives on scarcity and austerity.
  • This week a general strike was called against budget austerity.
British Dictionary definitions for austerity


noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being austere
(often pl) an austere habit, practice, or act
  1. reduced availability of luxuries and consumer goods, esp when brought about by government policy
  2. (as modifier): an austerity budget
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for austerity

mid-14c., "sternness, harshness," from Old French austerite "harshness, cruelty" (14c.) and directly from Late Latin austeritatem (nominative austeritas), from austerus (see austere). Of severe self-discipline, from 1580s; hence "severe simplicity" (1875); applied during World War II to national policies limiting non-essentials as a wartime economy.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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