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  1. the manner of life, practices, or principles of an ascetic.
  2. the doctrine that a person can attain a high spiritual and moral state by practicing self-denial, self-mortification, and the like.
  3. rigorous self-denial; extreme abstinence; austerity.


  1. the behaviour, discipline, or outlook of an ascetic, esp of a religious ascetic
  2. the principles of ascetic practices, esp in the early Christian Church
  3. the theory and system of ascetic practices

1640s, from ascetic (adj.) + -ism. Sometimes also ascetism (c.1850).

An austere, simple way of life in which persons renounce material pleasures and devote their energy to moral or religious purpose.


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