[pyoo r-iz-uh m]


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 formspur·ist, nounpu·ris·tic, pu·ris·ti·cal, adjectivepu·ris·ti·cal·ly, adverbhy·per·pur·ist, nounnon·pu·ris·tic, adjectiveun·pu·ris·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Related Words for purist

idealist, quibbler, fusspot, formalist, fussbudget

Examples from the Web for purist

Contemporary Examples of purist

Historical Examples of purist

  • Or was he only a purist in conduct who disapproved of Jacobus doing his own touting?

  • 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.

  • 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 Formspurist, adjective, nounpuristic, adjectivepuristically, 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

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