pu·​ri·​tan·​i·​cal | \ ˌpyu̇r-ə-ˈta-ni-kəl How to pronounce puritanical (audio) \

Definition of puritanical

1 : of, relating to, or characterized by a rigid morality
2 : puritan

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Other Words from puritanical

puritanically \ ˌpyu̇r-​ə-​ˈta-​ni-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce puritanical (audio) \ 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 The totalitarian theocracy of Gilead still looks like an America where the country’s puritanical politics have run amok. Angela Watercutter, Wired, "The Handmaid's Tale Hits Hard in Covid-Era America," 30 Apr. 2021 After the complete failure and repeal of alcohol prohibition in 1933, America’s puritanical conservatives and government agencies set their sights on drugs. Time, "Chelsea Handler: Marijuana Criminalization Has Always Hurt People of Color the Most. The Time for Reform Is Now," 19 Apr. 2021 Many dismissed the charges as puritanical overreaction, insisting that what grownups do with their bodies is their own business. Stephanie Ebbert, BostonGlobe.com, "Sexual addiction. ‘Temptation.’ In Atlanta, could there be any clearer instance of victim-blaming?," 18 Mar. 2021 Achieving moral purity through self-denial is a concept with puritanical roots that flowered in American capitalism, wherein thinness is both status and symbol. Washington Post, "Melissa Febos’s ‘Girlhood’ brilliantly illuminates how women are conditioned to be complicit in their own exploitation," 28 Mar. 2021 This has been a grim, humorless and puritanical time. Rob Asghar, Forbes, "The New Workplace Etiquette: No Zoom Booze, No Politics, Good Eye Contact," 3 Mar. 2021 And then this puritanical force came in and replaced it. Rebecca Alter, Vulture, "Wolfwalkers Is Giving Kids a History Lesson on the Horrors of Colonialism," 18 Feb. 2021 The prospect of a good old Cotton Mather Yuletide is a fitting end to a year in which the puritanical tendency has again entrenched itself as the dominant force in American politics. Gerard Baker, WSJ, "How the Woke Stole Christmas," 21 Dec. 2020 His puritanical decrees sucked the joy out of life as surely as mosquitoes suck blood. The Economist, "Bloodsuckers How malaria has shaped humanity," 16 Dec. 2020

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

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First Known Use of puritanical

1598, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for puritanical

Time Traveler

The first known use of puritanical was in 1598

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Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Puritanical.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puritanical. Accessed 9 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of puritanical

disapproving : very strict especially concerning morals and religion

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