pu·​ri·​tan·​i·​cal ˌpyu̇r-ə-ˈta-ni-kəl How to pronounce puritanical (audio)
: of, relating to, or characterized by a rigid morality
puritanically adverb

Examples of puritanical in a Sentence

some of the state laws concerning sexual behavior are vestiges of a more puritanical time and are rarely, if ever, enforced
Recent Examples on the Web On the Hollywood front, filmmakers had to obey the puritanical mandates of the Hays Code, its instructions against depicting interracial romance curtailing meatier opportunities for performers of colour. Hazlitt, 29 Nov. 2023 Shutterstock file Britain has always had its own particular brand of risque humor, often exporting it to the States, where stars like Brand, who had a brief stint in Hollywood movies, shocked its traditionally more puritanical audiences. Alexander Smith, NBC News, 23 Sep. 2023 The British equivalent—cumbersome, puritanical, wet-weather appropriate—of Brazil’s toe-bearing thongs, Paltrow must like the feeling of rubber against her soles when the mercury rises. Daniel Rodgers, Vogue, 22 Aug. 2023 Paul Reubens was a casualty of America’s repressive, puritanical patriarchy, which rewards violence and condemns sexuality. Nicholas Bell, Spin, 7 Aug. 2023 Europeans can no longer snicker about the American puritanical streak, the old litmus test for our politicians. Nina Burleigh, The New Republic, 1 Aug. 2023 Media coverage oscillated wildly between sycophantic applause and puritanical scrutiny - celebrities made to traipse an ephemeral, razor thin line between public adoration and detestation. Colin Scanlon, Redbook, 4 Aug. 2023 There is a chance that Western democracies will overcome the current waves of right-wing populism and left-wing moralism, but the prospects will be much better if the Elect can learn to temper their puritanical zeal. Ian Buruma, Harper's Magazine, 2 June 2023 These views have often been dismissed as essentialist and puritanical in the face of the ‘free love’ movement that characterised the 1960s and 70s. Hannah Uguru, refinery29.com, 21 May 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'puritanical.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 2

Time Traveler
The first known use of puritanical was in 1598

Dictionary Entries Near puritanical

Cite this Entry

“Puritanical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puritanical. Accessed 10 Dec. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on puritanical

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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