[ pyoo r-i-tn-iz-uh m ]
/ ˈpyʊər ɪ tnˌɪz əm /


the principles and practices of the Puritans.
(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. 2019

Examples from the Web for puritanism

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