quality; severity of manner, life, etc.; sternness.
Usually, austerities. ascetic practices:
austerities of monastery life.
strict economy.
Contemporary Examples

While austerity makes no economic sense today, slowing entitlement spending over the long term seems clearly necessary.
Obama Should Use His Budget to Reject Austerity and Promote Growth Robert Shapiro April 9, 2013

But every month, the government sector—local, state, and federal agencies pinched by austerity—cuts employment.
Why the Jobs Report Is So Meh Daniel Gross September 6, 2012

Will the new Tory/Liberal government in England and its austerity measures affect the budget of the Old Vic?
Kevin Spacey on Casino Jack Kevin Sessums December 13, 2010

And that is key for a president-elect who promised to challenge German orthodoxy on austerity in Europe.
Francois Hollande: France’s Anti-Sarkozy President Tracy McNicoll May 6, 2012

In a recent poll by MRB, over 90 percent of Greeks feel that the austerity cuts are unfair to the poor.
As Austerity Cuts Loom, Greeks Strike, But More Cuts Are Demanded Barbie Latza Nadeau September 24, 2012

Historical Examples

She had expected to see a man, reserved almost to the point of austerity.
Masterpieces of Mystery In Four Volumes Various

As a foil to his austerity, therefore, she would be audaciously gay in his presence.
The Spenders Harry Leon Wilson

There are continual jests about the contrast between this Ulsterman’s austerity and the conviviality of Colonel Clancy.
The Innocence of Father Brown G. K. Chesterton

The sternness of age and the austerity of censoriousness are now silent.
Imogen William Godwin

His spirit grew austere, but in his austerity there was an inexpressible joy.
A History of French Literature Edward Dowden

noun (pl) -ties
the state or quality of being austere
(often pl) an austere habit, practice, or act

reduced availability of luxuries and consumer goods, esp when brought about by government policy
(as modifier): an austerity budget


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.


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