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From Ancient Greek αὐστηρότης (austērótēs, bitter, harsh). See austere.



austerity (countable and uncountable, plural austerities)

  1. Severity of manners or life; extreme rigor or strictness; harsh discipline.
  2. Freedom from adornment; plainness; severe simplicity.
  3. (economics) A policy of deficit-cutting, which by definition requires lower spending, higher taxes, or both.
    • 2012 April 23, Angelique Chrisafis, “François Hollande on top but far right scores record result in French election”, in the Guardian[1]:
      He said France clearly wanted to "close one page and open another". He reiterated his opposition to austerity alone as the only way out of Europe's crisis: "My final duty, and I know I'm being watched from beyond our borders, is to put Europe back on the path of growth and employment."
  4. (obsolete) Sourness and harshness to the taste.


  • (severity of manners or life): comfort

Related terms[edit]


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