puritan

noun
pu·ri·tan | \ˈpyu̇r-ə-tən \

Definition of puritan 

(Entry 1 of 2)

1 capitalized : a member of a 16th and 17th century Protestant group in England and New England opposing as unscriptural the ceremonial worship and the prelacy of the Church of England

2 : one who practices or preaches a more rigorous or professedly purer moral code than that which prevails

puritan

adjective, often capitalized

Definition of puritan (Entry 2 of 2)

: of or relating to puritans, the Puritans, or puritanism

Keep scrolling for more

Synonyms & Antonyms for puritan

Synonyms: Noun

bluenose, moralist, nice nelly, prude

Antonyms: Noun

immoralist

Visit the Thesaurus for More 

Examples of puritan in a Sentence

Noun

She's a puritan about sex. some of the town's puritans still maintain that sex education has no place in the schools

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

To be sure, cannabis puritans can always cherry-pick scary stuff to stoke the fear that an ancient mind-altering substance that makes most users happy and hungry is the devil’s gift to a modern culture going to hell. Logan Jenkins, sandiegouniontribune.com, "Progress: Marijuana poll elicits a shrug," 26 Apr. 2018 In the 17th century, the pies were rejected by British puritans as decadent, hedonistic and inherently Catholic. Leo Hornak, USA TODAY, "Mince pie: Britain's strange addiction to a Christmas treat, explained," 19 Dec. 2017 In that sense, this story is intended as neither prurient nor puritan. Matt Patches, Esquire, "James Franco and the Creator of The Wire Double-Team HBO's '70s Porn Drama," 6 Aug. 2015 Our mother and father were religious and strong and good puritans. Chris Jones, Esquire, "The House of Hugh Hefner," 28 Sep. 2017 The video, however, even though it was shot largely in a strip club with dancers in thongs, is almost puritan compared to ones being produced these days. John Smallwood, Philly.com, "Sports Tonight: More proof that 'chicks dig the long ball'," 1 Sep. 2017 Atwood views the United States as having two foundations: one 18th-century Enlightenment and the other 17th-century puritan theology. Jackie Mansky, Smithsonian, "The U.S. Is Too Ornery for Totalitarianism, According to Margaret Atwood," 14 Apr. 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

That law has gone long unenforced when the play begins, so the enigmatic Duke of Vienna (Scott Shepherd) decides to step aside and put the merciless puritan Angelo (Pete Simpson) in charge. Ben Brantley, New York Times, "Review: Shakespeare Meets Elevator Repair Service. Mayhem Ensues.," 10 Oct. 2017 Sales of spirits have been robust in recent years, even as consumption of wine and beer has fallen in many countries, but millennial shoppers sound increasingly puritan. The Economist, "The bosses of two famous French firms struggle to keep customers," 5 Oct. 2017 During that period, known as the Interregnum, Oliver Cromwell and others led a series of republican governments and promoted puritan moral standards. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The Spy Who Became England’s First Successful Female Writer," 13 June 2017 During that period, known as the Interregnum, Oliver Cromwell and others led a series of republican governments and promoted puritan moral standards. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The Spy Who Became England’s First Successful Female Writer," 13 June 2017 Fusco illustrates it by photographing birds and animals that hardly anyone ever sees — indeed, often creatures that few have ever heard of, like puritan tiger beetles and bristle-thighed curlews. David Holahan, courant.com, "Photographer Paul Fusco: Slow And Steady To Capture The Wild Things," 21 May 2017 In touring the 287-acre campus of pathways, low-slung buildings and a commanding statue of Mr. Bogle, the sensibility is decidedly puritan. Landon Thomas Jr., New York Times, "Vanguard Is Growing Faster Than Everybody Else Combined," 14 Apr. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'puritan.' 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 puritan

Noun

1572, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Adjective

1581, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for puritan

Noun

probably from Late Latin puritas purity

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about puritan

Dictionary Entries near puritan

puriri

purism

purist

puritan

puritan father

puritan gray

puritanic

Statistics for puritan

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for puritan

The first known use of puritan was in 1572

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for puritan

puritan

noun

English Language Learners Definition of puritan

Puritan : a member of a Protestant group in England and New England in the 16th and 17th centuries that opposed many customs of the Church of England

: a person who follows strict moral rules and who believes that pleasure is wrong

puritan

noun
pu·ri·tan | \ˈpyu̇r-ə-tᵊn \

Kids Definition of puritan

1 capitalized : a member of a 16th and 17th century Protestant group in England and New England opposing formal customs of the Church of England

2 : a person who practices, preaches, or follows a stricter moral code than most people

Keep scrolling for more

More from Merriam-Webster on puritan

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for puritan

Spanish Central: Translation of puritan

Nglish: Translation of puritan for Spanish Speakers

Comments on puritan

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

WORD OF THE DAY

lying above or upon

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

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

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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