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[pyoo r-iz-uh m] /ˈpyʊər ɪz əm/
strict observance of or insistence on purity in language, style, etc.
an instance of this.
(often initial capital letter) Fine Arts. a style of art developed in France in the early 20th century, characterized by the use of simple geometric forms and images evocative of objects produced by machine.
Origin of purism
First recorded in 1795-1805; pure + -ism
Related forms
purist, noun
puristic, puristical, adjective
puristically, adverb
hyperpurist, noun
nonpuristic, adjective
unpuristic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for purist
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Or was he only a purist in conduct who disapproved of Jacobus doing his own touting?

    'Twixt Land & Sea Joseph Conrad
  • The purist does not use the word pantaloons even, but trousers.

    The Verbalist Thomas Embly Osmun, (AKA Alfred Ayres)
  • Come and inspect us, unless you're a purist about your Scott!

    Robert Elsmere Mrs. Humphry Ward
  • Then Grey exploded again, and the purist looked from one to the other.

    Lines in Pleasant Places

    William Senior
  • But to do without for the sake of principle was ever rapture to the purist.

    The Madigans Miriam Michelson
British Dictionary definitions for purist


insistence on traditional canons of correctness of form or purity of style or content, esp in language, art, or music
Derived Forms
purist, adjective, noun
puristic, adjective
puristically, adverb
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for purist

"stickler for purity," 1706, from pure + -ist; on model of French puriste (1580s), originally in reference to speech.



1803, of language, from French purisme (see purist + -ism). As a movement in art from 1921.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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