Is there a single word that captures the ability of an individual to go without, or thrive with less of, or function with less sophisticated versions of, something that others might depend on?

Near synonyms might be "resilient", "robust", "low-maintenance", "independent", or "self-reliant", but I'm not sure any of them quite capture the full connotations (feel free to disagree, though).

Examples of types of people who might be described this way:

  • A carpenter who is skilled with basic hand-tools, who could build quality products even if he didn't have power tools.
  • A person experienced with fasting (like a monk or fitness guru), who could function better than others in a situation where food is scarce.
  • Someone who maintains a healthy relationship with their phone and technology, who can remain perfectly happy even if their electricity goes out.
  • Prepper types of people, who supposedly can maintain a functioning household even in a scenario of civilizational disruption.
  • Someone skilled in mental arithmetic, who can do useful calculations even if a calculator or computer is not available.
  • Someone very skilled in meditation, who can maintain their wellbeing even with the absence of any worldly pleasures or stimulation.

I'd really love something that captures the general vibe of all this, if there is such a word. Thanks!

  • spartanism - a devotion to the habits and qualities of the ancient Spartans, especially to an indomitable spirit, undaunted hardihood, and stark simplicity. Apr 14, 2021 at 17:18
  • I think Mies van der Rohe had something to say about that... Apr 14, 2021 at 17:56
  • I kind of like "austere" but this is a job for a thesaurus merriam-webster.com/thesaurus/ascetic
    – Stuart F
    Apr 14, 2021 at 20:43

4 Answers 4


Such a person could be called (from Lexico)


Reliant on one's own powers and resources rather than those of others.

He appears self-reliant and confident with some maturity.

Indeed, learning a martial art makes one self-reliant and disciplined, and also greatly boosts one's confidence.

  • I'm not sure if any of them get it exactly spot-on, but I feel this is the closest out of them all so far.
    – David V
    May 9, 2021 at 21:48

You could call them ascetic. This means that the person tries not to engage in indulgence and lives independently. I can see how this could be a stretch though.


Parsimonious, maybe.

Using a minimal number of assumptions, steps, or conjectures.



Not a single word, but a phrase:

Less is more

attributed to Mies van der Rohe 1947

It describes a result that is better for less technology:

Often associated with...


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