pu·​ri·​tan·​ism | \ ˈpyu̇r-ə-tᵊn-ˌi-zəm How to pronounce puritanism (audio) \

Definition of puritanism

1 capitalized : the beliefs and practices characteristic of the Puritans
2 : strictness and austerity especially in matters of religion or conduct

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Examples of puritanism in a Sentence

the Victorian era was often characterized by a hypocritical puritanism
Recent Examples on the Web For modern progressivism is a form of secular puritanism: dour, joyless, haunted to sleeplessness by the prospect that somebody, somewhere might be thinking unsanctioned thoughts or acting in unapproved ways. James E. Person Jr., National Review, "Rod Dreher’s Advice for Christians in a Secular Age," 17 Sep. 2020 In my view, forms of puritanism and freedom have coexisted simultaneously in every era. Vladimir Vladimirovich Nabokov, Harper's magazine, "Sex and Sensibility," 28 Oct. 2019 Oil wealth has hidden a woefully unproductive economy, and fuelled Islamic ultra-puritanism around the world. The Economist, "How to ensure Muhammad bin Salman’s reforms succeed," 23 June 2018 That relationship allowed investigators to paint Muck as both subversive and immoral—a one-two punch of xenophobia and puritanism. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "The “Star-Spangled Banner” Controversy That Altered the Course of American Music," 2 July 2019 Which brings us to the party that really pays for the new puritanism: the arts consumer. Lionel Shriver, Harper's magazine, "Cruel and Unusual Punishment," 10 Feb. 2019 The stigma is part of a creeping puritanism that has stifled the arts in Egypt in recent decades. Declan Walsh, New York Times, "Foreign Belly Dancers? Egyptians Shake Their Heads (and Hips)," 8 July 2018 There is a certain amount of puritanism that exists in the United States. Ceylan Yeginsu, New York Times, "Benetton ‘Migrants’ Ads Draw Outrage for Using Photos of Real Migrants," 21 June 2018 As a result, indie rock’s penchant for puritanism and subcultural snobbery was dwindling, and authenticity was beginning to be privileged over obscurity. Emma Madden, Billboard, "How The Yeah Yeahs' 'Maps' Helped Change the Way We View the Relationship Between Pop and Indie," 26 Apr. 2018

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

1573, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of puritanism was in 1573

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Cite this Entry

“Puritanism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/puritanism. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of puritanism

: the beliefs and practices of Puritans
often disapproving : the beliefs and practices of people who follow very strict moral and religious rules about the proper way to behave and live

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