pur·​ism | \ ˈpyu̇r-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce purism (audio) \

Definition of purism

1 : an example of rigid adherence to or insistence on purity or nicety especially in use of words especially : a word, phrase, or sense used chiefly by purists
2 : the quality or practice of adherence to purity especially in language

Examples of purism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Band had established its own indelible catalog of earthy, mysterious Americana, and Dylan had clearly won every bygone battle against folky purism. Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Bob Dylan’s Glam Hootenanny: Returning to Rolling Thunder," 5 June 2019 Aavik was part of a wave of linguistic purism that was then sweeping Europe. The Economist, "Languages are a battleground for nationalists," 5 Sep. 2019 One of Sarah Copeland’s salad recipes in her lovely new cookbook evokes the cooking-from-the-market spirit, not the purism associated with the classic. Joe Yonan, Washington Post, "This salad of green beans, potatoes and eggs is the breezy dish your summer needs," 23 June 2019 Is the impulse behind this a kind of purism or a kind of self-deception? Neel Mukherjee, New York Times, "A Veritable No Man’s Land, Off the Coast of Scotland," 7 May 2018 Not for fries purists, but purism does tend to take the fun out of things. Robert Philpot, star-telegram, "Friday is Fry Day — National French Fry Day, that is. Here are a few faves.," 13 July 2018 There is a gritty purism about Jimmy’s Corner, where the walls are covered in boxing memorabilia and an old jukebox permeates the atmosphere with the velvety tones of Sam Cooke and Sinatra. David Kortava, The New Yorker, "The Underdog Story of Times Square’s Still Gritty Jimmy’s Corner," 11 May 2018 LLNN Hardcore music is saddled with a reputation for purism, but plenty of bands push its boundaries in exciting, unexpected ways. Jamie Ludwig, Chicago Reader, "Hank Pearl of Black Pearl Photo on masked Swedish synth masters Priest," 2 May 2018 The House Republican rebels who pushed the 2013 government shutdown and ousted Speaker John Boehner in 2015, acting out of purism, jeopardized Republican majorities. Michael Barone, National Review, "Both Parties Seem Determined to Lose the Next Elections," 6 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'purism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of purism

1777, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about purism

Time Traveler for purism

Time Traveler

The first known use of purism was in 1777

See more words from the same year

Statistics for purism

Cite this Entry

“Purism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/purism. Accessed 4 Aug. 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on purism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with purism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about purism

Comments on purism

What made you want to look up purism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

July 2020 Words of the Day Quiz

  • papercraft sunset
  • Which is a synonym of mien?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!