Mrs. Grundy

noun
Mrs. Grun·​dy | \ -ˈgrən-dē How to pronounce Mrs. Grundy (audio) \

Definition of Mrs. Grundy

: one marked by prudish conventionality in personal conduct

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What would Mrs. Grundy say? Dame Ashfield, a character in Thomas Morton's 1798 play Speed the Plough, was continually asking that question and worrying about invoking the sneering condemnation of her prudish neighbor, Mrs. Grundy. Although Mrs. Grundy never actually appeared on stage during the play, her critical attitude exerted a significant influence on the actions of other characters, and ultimately on the English language. By 1813, English speakers had adopted her name as a byword for anyone with extremely rigid standards of propriety that he or she applied in judging the actions of others.

Examples of Mrs. Grundy in a Sentence

the librarian pointed out that many of the books that contain material that was once offensive to the Mrs. Grundys of the world are now revered as literary classics

First Known Use of Mrs. Grundy

1813, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Mrs. Grundy

from a character alluded to in Thomas Morton's Speed the Plough (1798)

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Time Traveler for Mrs. Grundy

Time Traveler

The first known use of Mrs. Grundy was in 1813

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Dictionary Entries Near Mrs. Grundy

MRSA

Mrs. Grundy

mrtm

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Cite this Entry

“Mrs. Grundy.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Mrs.%20Grundy. Accessed 28 May. 2022.

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