a movement, originating in the Lutheran Church in Germany in the 17th century, that stressed personal piety over religious formality and orthodoxy.
the principles and practices of the Pietists.
(lowercase) intensity of religious devotion or feeling.
(lowercase) exaggeration or affectation of piety.

Origin of Pietism

1690–1700; < German Pietismus < Latin piet(ās) piety + German -ismus -ism
Related formsPi·e·tist, nounpi·e·tis·tic, pi·e·tis·ti·cal, adjectivepi·e·tis·ti·cal·ly, adverb

Synonyms for Pietism

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for pietism

Historical Examples of pietism

  • Those of us who have no form of pietism feel cut off from making the attempt at all.

  • This and his stay in England gave an Anglican turn to his German pietism.

  • John was a compound of romanticism, pietism, realism, and naturalism.

    The Son of a Servant

    August Strindberg

  • His Journal was read at home by John's step-mother, who inclined to pietism.

    The Son of a Servant

    August Strindberg

  • One cannot separate the influence of Pietism and that of the Opera.


    Romain Rolland

British Dictionary definitions for pietism



a less common word for piety
excessive, exaggerated, or affected piety or saintliness
Derived Formspietist, nounpietistic or pietistical, adjective



history a reform movement in the German Lutheran Churches during the 17th and 18th centuries that strove to renew the devotional ideal
Derived FormsPietist, 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

Word Origin and History for pietism

also Pietism, 1690s, from German Pietismus, originally applied in derision to the movement to revive personal piety in the Lutheran Church, begun in Frankfurt c.1670 by Philipp Jakob Spener (1635-1705). See piety + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper