Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 5th Edition.

  • noun A member of a group of English Protestants who in the 1500s and 1600s advocated strict religious discipline along with simplification of the ceremonies and creeds of the Church of England.
  • noun A person who is very strict or austere in religious practice or moral outlook, especially someone who regards pleasure or luxury as sinful.
  • adjective Of or relating to the Puritans or Puritanism.
  • adjective Characteristic of a puritan; puritanical.

from The Century Dictionary.

  • noun One who is very strict and serious in his religious life, or who pretends to great purity of life: first used about 1564, and applied to certain Anabaptists: frequently a term of contempt.
  • noun [capitalized] One of a class of Protestants which arose in England in the sixteenth century.
  • noun Synonyms Puritan, Pilgrim. Careful distinction should be made between the Pilgrims or Pilgrim Fathers, who settled at Plymouth in 1620, and the Puritans, who in 1628–30 founded the colony of Massachusetts Bay at Salem and Boston.
  • [capitalized] Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the Puritans.
  • Synonyms Puritan, Puritanic. Puritanic (or puritanical) is now generally used in a depreciative sense; Puritan in a commendatory or a neutral sense.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English.

  • adjective Of or pertaining to the Puritans; resembling, or characteristic of, the Puritans.
  • noun (Eccl. Hist.) One who, in the time of Queen Elizabeth and the first two Stuarts, opposed traditional and formal usages, and advocated simpler forms of faith and worship than those established by law; -- originally, a term of reproach. The Puritans formed the bulk of the early population of New England.
  • noun One who is scrupulous and strict in his religious life; -- often used reproachfully or in contempt; one who has overstrict notions.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License.

  • noun A member of a particular Protestant religious sect.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • noun a member of a group of English Protestants who in the 16th and 17th centuries thought that the Protestant Reformation under Elizabeth was incomplete and advocated the simplification and regulation of forms of worship
  • noun a person excessively concerned about propriety and decorum
  • noun someone who adheres to strict religious principles; someone opposed to sensual pleasures

Etymologies

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

[From Late Latin pūritās, purity (on the model of Medieval Latin Kathari, “the Pure Ones,” a third-century sect of rigorist heretics), from Latin pūrus, pure; see peuə- in Indo-European roots.]

Examples

  • She may look like an uptight puritan (I'm sorry, but mentally I keep seeing her in a Puritan getup, with black dress and black cap.

    Cake Eater Chronicles

  • He has indeed given to the term Puritan a number of unexpected meanings, and yet no one can justly question his right to it.

    Among Famous Books

  • To restrict the term Puritan to Nonconformists is a modern mistake.

    It Might Have Been The Story of the Gunpowder Plot

  • The term Puritan, had a threefold application with reference to morals, doctrine and politics.

    The Historic Significance of the Southern Revolution: A Lecture Delivered by Invitation in Petersburg, Va., March 14th and April 29th, 1864, and in Richmond, Va., April 7th and April 21st, 1864

  • As C.S. Lewis said, modernity's success at so distorting the word "Puritan" is one of the Enemy's greatest triumphs.

    Christopher West: "I never said Hugh Hefner is a hero, never..."

  • Charles was well principled at the bottom, and would have shrunk with horror had it been set before him how dangerous might be the effect of destroying the chance of a friendship between Guy and the only person whose guidance was likely to be beneficial to him; but his idle, unoccupied life, and habit of only thinking of things as they concerned his immediate amusement, made him ready to do anything for the sake of opposition to Philip, and enjoy the vague idea of excitement to be derived from anxiety about his father's ward, whom at the same time he regarded with increased liking as he became certain that what he called the Puritan spirit was not native to him.

    The Heir of Redclyffe

  • Today I was in Puritan Poultry in Riberas on Lake Chapala when this guy walks in and asks the owner Chicken Joe for some lamb.

    Cinco de Mayo

  • Today I was in Puritan Poultry in Riberas on Lake Chapala when this guy walks in and asks the owner Chicken Joe for some lamb.

    Cinco de Mayo

  • Today I was in Puritan Poultry in Riberas on Lake Chapala when this guy walks in and asks the owner Chicken Joe for some lamb.

    Cinco de Mayo

  • Today I was in Puritan Poultry in Riberas on Lake Chapala when this guy walks in and asks the owner Chicken Joe for some lamb.

    Cinco de Mayo

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