(Greek: austeros, harsh, rough, bitter > Latin: dry, harsh, sour, tart)

anti-austerity protest (s) (noun), anti-austerity protests (pl)
Massive street protests by those who are affected by economic losses: "There are anti-austerity protests by many segments of the populations; both students and older workers, that include education funding, infrastructure funding, manufacturing, aviation, social welfare, public workers, etc."

"Spain is engulfed by a nationwide anti-austerity strike."

austere (aw STEER) (adjective); more austere, austerer; most austere, austerest
1. With reference to an economic policy or measure that is designed by a government to reduce a budget deficit; especially, by eliminating certain public expenditures: Some European countries are being forced to establish more austere expenditures because of their monetary debts.
2. Imposing or suggesting physical hardship: In order to make a profit, many people are forced to work in more austere conditions by their employers in the manufacturing of products.
3. Grimly unsmiling, humorless, or suggesting strict self-denial; grave; sober; solemn; serious: Henry was an austere man with a rigidly strict lifestyle.
4. Severe in manner or appearance; uncompromising; strict; forbidding: Conditions in the prison were unbelievably austere.

Some austere people are very self-controlled and serious or even sad and gloomy.

Faces, manners, ways of life, and art forms are all subject to being described as austere, in order to portray the idea of severe simplicity, the absence of adornment; and in context, any restrictive sternness.

5. Rigorously self-disciplined and severely moral; ascetic; abstinent: They live an austere quality of life in the convent.
6. Plain and simple; unadorned, without luxury, ease, or self-indulgence: Our ancestors lived an austere life on the frontier.

The cathedral was impressive with its austere simplicity.

Clara's austere apparel enhanced her natural beauty.

7. Severely plain in design or lines, without distractions or decoration: The company chose austere furnishings for the offices and other work areas.
8. Rough to the taste; sour or harsh in flavor: Some people have austere diets that others cannot tolerate.
9. Etymology: from Latin austerus, "dry, harsh, sour, tart"; from Greek austeros, "bitter, harsh"; especially, "making the tongue dry".

Originally a reference to fruits, wines, etc., related to auos, "dry".

Very simple and unadorned.
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austerely (adverb)
1. In an austere fashion: "They lived in an austerely furnished home with only the barest necessities."
2. Severely; rigidly; harshly: "After the tornadoes, people are austerely existing in shelters."
austereness (noun)
1. Extreme plainness: "The austereness of his face changed to a smile when he met his old friend again."
2. Harsh; unnecessarily extreme: "The austereness of the flooding is proving to be difficult to live with."
austerity (s) (noun), austerities (pl)
1. Severity of manner, life, etc.; sternness: The austerity of their lifestyle was surprising.
2. Usually ascetic or religious practices: They existed in the austerities of monastery life.
3. The trait of great self-denial; especially, refraining from worldly pleasures: Their self-imposed austerities restricted them from what most people consider to be simple pleasures of life.
4. Difficult economic conditions that are created by government measures to reduce a budget deficit; especially, by reducing public expenditures: Greece, Ireland, Portugal, Iceland, and other countries are required to develop austerities in order to qualify for monetary loans.

The citizens may have to endure years of austerities that will be placed on them by their governments.

The noun austerity is often heard in the news these days when some heads of state warn their people to be prepared to face "a period of austerity" as a result of economic crises.

Some Greeks have said that it is about time that the public sector trade unions also experience austerity because they have traditionally enjoyed generous benefits while the rest of the general population has "suffered" economically.

There is an air of inevitability about the upcoming austerity in Spain, to be outlined in the conservative government’s first full-year budget. Too much austerity could be self-defeating and even unrealistic, but Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy doesn’t have much of a choice.

Sticking to austerity at all costs may even be self-defeating if it sends the economy into a tailspin.

—Compiled from "Spain can’t avoid austerity conundrum"
by Fiona Maharg-Bravo; Reuters, March 30, 2012.
An enforced and extreme economy, harsh discipline.
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austerity (adjective), more austerity, most austerity
Relating to or pertaining to economic policies by which governments reduce the amount of money they spend for welfare, retirements, public wages, etc.: There are austerity measures, austerity policies, austerity budgets, and other austerity conditions that are reducing many people's living standards.

Austerity policies are resulting in several countries with tightened or stringent economies; for example, when governments are forced to increase taxes, freeze wages, and when there are reductions in retirement payments and welfare services.

An enforced and extreme economy.
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austerity budget (s) (noun), austerity budgets (pl)
Spain's government announced an annual budget including €27.3 billion (around $36 billion) worth of fresh spending cuts, one day after it faced a nationwide general strike, and said it would continue its increasingly unpopular austerity budget drive: "The austerity budget is a key step in the Spanish government's plan to cut the country's budget deficit by tens of billions of euros this year, to 5.3% of gross domestic product from last year's 8.5% of GDP, or around €90 billion."
austerity conundrum (s) (noun), austerity conundrums (pl)
A contradictory, insoluble, or difficult problem; a dilemma in an effort to solve a country's budget deficit: "Spain can't avoid the austerity conundrum."
austerity measure (s) (noun), austerity measures (pl)
A policy of deficit-cutting, lower spending, and a reduction in the amount of benefits and public services provided: "Austerity measures are normally taken if there is a threat that a government cannot honor its debt liabilities."

"Some austerity measures affect development projects, welfare, and other social spending; all of which are common programs that are targeted for cuts."

"Portuguese police have attacked the demonstrators who were protesting nationwide against the government's austerity measures."

austerity package (s) (noun), austerity packages (pl)
A country's measures to reduce a budget deficit: "The austerity package will draw money out of the government's economy at a time when it is entering recession for the second time in three years."
austerity plan (s) (noun), austerity plans (pl)
Something that is intended to do and arrangements that are made to achieve economic conditions which are created by government measures to reduce budget deficits: "The austerity plan from the government makes it easier and cheaper for companies to lay people off."

"Spain is taking drastic actions with an austerity plan to lower its debts, even during a recession which has seen unemployment expand to nearly one in four."