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[pyoo r-i-tn-iz-uh m]
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  1. the principles and practices of the Puritans.
  2. (sometimes lowercase) extreme strictness in moral or religious matters, often to excess; rigid austerity.

Origin of Puritanism

First recorded in 1565–75; Puritan + -ism
Related formsan·ti-Pu·ri·tan·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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Word Origin and History for puritanism



1570s, from Puritan + -ism. Originally in reference to specific doctrines; from 1590s of excessive moral strictness generally. In this sense, famously defined by H.L. Mencken (1920) as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy."

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

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