Askesis

n.

  1. the practice of severe self-discipline, typically for religious reasons

[The Reading Life — C. S. Lewis]

Asperity

n.

(Plural: asperities)

  1. Roughness or harshness, as of surface, sound, or climate.
  2. Severity; rigor.
  3. A slight projection from a surface; a point or bump.
  4. Harshness of manner; ill temper or irritability.

[Nicholson Baker — The Mezzanine]

Assegai

n.

  1. A light spear or lance used by Bantu peoples of southern Africa.
  2. A tall evergreen tree (Curtisia dentata) of southern Africa, having durable wood used for making weapons, furniture, and other wooden products, and bark that is used in traditional medicine.

[The Waves — Virginia Woolf]