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[pyoo r-i-tan-i-kuh l] /ˌpyʊər ɪˈtæn ɪ kəl/
very strict in moral or religious matters, often excessively so; rigidly austere.
(sometimes initial capital letter) of, relating to, or characteristic of Puritans or Puritanism.
Often, puritanic.
Origin of puritanical
First recorded in 1600-10; Puritan + -ical
Related forms
puritanically, adverb
puritanicalness, noun
unpuritanic, adjective
unpuritanical, adjective
unpuritanically, adverb Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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Examples from the Web for puritanical
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • They are puritanical with intelligence, and independent with a certain grace.

    My Double Life Sarah Bernhardt
  • After a divorce—Seth's idea of divorces were vague and puritanical—there would be no hope.

    The Woman-Haters Joseph C. Lincoln
  • There was in Hazlitt, however, a puritanical fervor which withstood the lure of expediency.

    Erik Dorn

    Ben Hecht
  • I've had too much of your puritanical, psalm-singing business.

    Under Fire Charles King
  • Voltaire, the least puritanical of men, is also the least neurotic.

    Suspended Judgments John Cowper Powys
British Dictionary definitions for puritanical


generally (derogatory) strict in moral or religious outlook, esp in shunning sensual pleasures
(sometimes capital) of or relating to a puritan or the Puritans
Derived Forms
puritanically, adverb
puritanicalness, noun
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 puritanical

c.1600, from Puritan + -ical. Chiefly in disparaging use. Related: Puritanically.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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