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The austere, plain chamber in which the monk lived reflected the strict nature of his holy vows. In his bare dwelling, the monk practiced the austere and stern disciplines of prayer, fasting, and chant. When visitors came to him for help, his expression of welcome was in no way severe or austere but rather warm and welcoming to all those in need who crossed his threshold.

Quiz: What does an austere room look like?

  • It is neatly organized and looks recently cleaned.
  • It is overly cluttered with broken or useless items.
  • It has few or no decorations to enliven its surroundings.

Memory Hook

Austin Steers Wrong Way We were hoping that the austere and stern priest might steer Austin towards more serious pursuits, but Austin's fun-loving and partying way of life did not give way to the priest's somber and strict advice.


  • The long driveway ends in a motor court facing an austere garage and studio, a fortress-like facade softened by recessed stained-glass doors created by Judy Jensen that form the visual center and provide a splash of vivid color. —Los Angeles Times
  • Four months later, the governor said that releasing inmates early was "the fairest way to go," because he had targeted almost every other state program for cuts in his austere budget proposal. —Los Angeles Times
  • Early Tuesday morning, Marine generals had gathered at an austere mobile desert outpost to plot the strategy for their final push to isolate Kuwait City. —The Washington Post
  • If this seems too austere a standard, note that 88% of the rural Indians in their surveys lived on less than this, and that the middle-class Britons who won Mill’s praise earned little more. —The Economist

Word Ingredients

auster harsh, rough, bitter
e used for spelling and pronunciation

Austere rules and regulations can often be “harsh, rough, or bitter” for those who have to follow them.

Word Theater

Buddhist Priests These Buddhist priests are undergoing austere training for a period of one-hundred days.

Word Constellation


Word Variants

austerity n strict or severe discipline or economy