[pyoo r-i-tan-i-kuh l]


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 pu·ri·tan·ic.

Origin of puritanical

First recorded in 1600–10; Puritan + -ical
Related formspu·ri·tan·i·cal·ly, adverbpu·ri·tan·i·cal·ness, nounun·pu·ri·tan·ic, adjectiveun·pu·ri·tan·i·cal, adjectiveun·pu·ri·tan·i·cal·ly, adverb
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for puritanical

Contemporary Examples of puritanical

Historical Examples of puritanical

  • 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


less commonly puritanic


usually derogatory strict in moral or religious outlook, esp in shunning sensual pleasures
(sometimes capital) of or relating to a puritan or the Puritans
Derived Formspuritanically, adverbpuritanicalness, 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 puritanical

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

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper