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  1. a movement, originating in the Lutheran Church in Germany in the 17th century, that stressed personal piety over religious formality and orthodoxy.
  2. the principles and practices of the Pietists.
  3. (lowercase) intensity of religious devotion or feeling.
  4. (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

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Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for pietist

martyr, angel, pietist

Examples from the Web for pietist

Historical Examples of pietist

  • She caused the Pietist to visit her daily and instruct her in the stern belief.

  • "You are not going to be a pietist, I suppose," broke in the doctor as he filled his glass.

  • The housemaid was a pietist and allowed to be so, as much as she pleased.

    The Growth of a Soul

    August Strindberg

  • He began to race with her, and frequented the pietist meetings.

    The Son of a Servant

    August Strindberg

  • He was also a pietist from spiritual pride, as all pietists are.

    The Son of a Servant

    August Strindberg

British Dictionary definitions for pietist


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


  1. 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 pietist

also Pietist, 1690s; see pietism + -ist. As an adjective from 1705.



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