Drab vs Austere - What's the difference?

drab | austere |

As a noun drab

is beadle, catchpole.

As an adjective austere is




Etymology 1

(etyl), meaning "color of undyed cloth", from (etyl) ).Xavier Delamarre, ''Dictionnaire de la langue gauloise : une approche linguistique du vieux-celtique continental , s.v. "drappo" (Paris: Errance, 2001).


  • Dull, uninteresting, particularly of colour.
  • * {{quote-news
  • , year=2011 , date=November 3 , author=David Ornstein , title=Macc Tel-Aviv 1 - 2 Stoke , work=BBC Sport citation , page= , passage=In a drab first half, Ryan Shotton's drive was deflected on to a post and Jon Walters twice went close.}}


    (en noun)
  • A fabric, usually of thick wool or cotton, having a drab colour.
  • The colour of this fabric; a dun, dull grey, or or dull brownish yellow.
  • A wooden box, used in saltworks for holding the salt when taken out of the boiling pans.
  • Synonyms
    * (fabric) (l)
    Derived terms
    * (l)

    Etymology 2

    Origin uncertain; probably compare Irish drabog, Gaelic .


    (en noun)
  • (dated) A dirty or untidy woman; a slattern.
  • *
  • Old provincial society had [...] its brilliant young professional dandies who ended by living up an entry with a drab and six children for their establishment [...].
  • * 1956 , (John Creasey), Gideon's Week :
  • The doss house emptied during the day; from ten o'clock until five or six in the evening, there was no one there except Mulliver, a drab who did some of the cleaning for him, and occasional visitors.
  • (dated) A promiscuous woman, a slut; a prostitute.
  • * 1957 , (Frank Swinnerton), The Woman from Sicily :
  • Ineffable sarcasm underlined the word 'bride', suggesting that Mrs Mudge must be a drab who had married for respectability.
  • A box used in a saltworks for holding the salt when taken out of the boiling pans.
  • Synonyms
    * (slut) See * (prostitute) See


  • (obsolete) To consort with prostitutes.
  • *
  • *
  • Anagrams







  • Grim or severe in manner or appearance
  • The headmistress was an austere old woman.
  • Lacking trivial decoration; not extravagant or gaudy
  • The interior of the church was as austere as the parishioners were dour.


    * (grim or severe) stern, strict, forbidding * (lacking trivial decoration) simple, plain, unadorned, unembellished


    * (not lacking trivial decoration) overwrought, flamboyant, extravagant, gaudy, flashy

    Derived terms

    * austerity * austerely