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From Ancient Greek ἀσκητικός ‎(askētikós), from ἀσκητής ‎(askētḗs, monk, hermit), from ἀσκέω ‎(askéō, I exercise).



ascetic ‎(comparative more ascetic, superlative most ascetic)

  1. Of or relating to ascetics; characterized by rigorous self-denial or self-discipline; austere; abstinent; involving a withholding of physical pleasure.
    • 1820, Walter Scott, Ivanhoe: A Romance, 1868, page 151,
      In a word, the stern, ascetic rigor of the temple discipline, which had been so long exchanged for prodigal and licentious indulgence, seemed at once to have revived at Templestowe under the severe eye of Lucas Beaumanoir.
    • 1999, Alan Davies, Tradition and Modernity in Protestant Christianity, Karigoudar Ishwaran (editor), Ascetic Culture: Renunciation and Worldly Engagement, page 30,
      The rich communal life of the most ascetic Protestants, for example, the Hutterites and the Old Order Mennonites, with their nineteenth century dress and preference for antiquated technology, refutes such superficial judgments.
    • 2004, Phyllis G. Jestice, Ascetics as Holy People, Phyllis G. Jestice (editor), Holy People of the World: A Cross-Cultural Encyclopedia, Volume 1: Entries A to G, page 70,
      Throughout the hagiographical tradition, though, holy people have engaged in more ascetic practices than the population at large, usually proceeding two or three degrees beyond what is expected among the merely pious.
    • 2015, Carl Olson, Indian Asceticism: Power, Violence, and Play, page 155,
      This experience enables Nāgārjuna to recognize that desire is the root cause of suffering and motivates him to turn to a more ascetic lifestyle.




ascetic ‎(plural ascetics)

  1. One who is devoted to the practice of self-denial, either through seclusion or stringent abstinence.
    • 1982, Mariasusai Dhavamony, Classical Hinduism, page 369,
      First, the technical terms used to signify hindu ascetics, hermits, mendicants and some related terms are analysed in their religious meaning with the view of avoiding a good deal of confusion that exists in such studies.
    • 2004, Lynn Teskey Denton, Female Ascetics in Hinduism, page 110,
      Female ascetics find shelter in a wide variety of establishments and vary greatly in the degree to which they travel.
    • 2015, Susanne Kerner, Cynthia Chou, Morten Warmind (editors), Commensality: From Everyday Food to Feast, unnumbered page,
      The ascetics were not only concerned with abstinence from food, and much of the contemporary literature stresses sexual desire and civil ambition as other important dangers to avoid.


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