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Puritan definitions

Webster's 1828 Dictionary

PU'RITAN, n. [from pure.] A dissenter from the church of England. The puritans were so called in derision, on account of their professing to follow the pure word of God, in opposition to all traditions and human constitutions.
Hume gives this name to three parties; the political puritans, who maintained the highest principles of civil liberty; the puritans in discipline, who were averse to the ceremonies and government of the episcopal church; and the doctrinal puritans, who rigidly defended the speculative system of the first reformers.
PU'RITAN, a. Pertaining to the puritans, or dissenters from the church of England.

WordNet (r) 3.0 (2005)

1: a member of a group of English Protestants who in the 16th and 17th centuries thought that the Protestant Reformation under Elizabeth was incomplete and advocated the simplification and regulation of forms of worship
2: someone who adheres to strict religious principles; someone opposed to sensual pleasures
3: a person excessively concerned about propriety and decorum [syn: prude, puritan]

Merriam Webster's

I. noun Etymology: probably from Late Latin puritas purity Date: circa 1567 1. capitalized a member of a 16th and 17th century Protestant group in England and New England opposing as unscriptural the ceremonial worship and the prelacy of the Church of England 2. one who practices or preaches a more rigorous or professedly purer moral code than that which prevails II. adjective Usage: often capitalized Date: 1581 of or relating to puritans, the Puritans, or puritanism

Oxford Reference Dictionary

n. & adj. --n. 1 (Puritan) hist. a member of a group of English Protestants who regarded the Reformation of the Church under Elizabeth as incomplete and sought to simplify and regulate forms of worship. 2 a purist member of any party. 3 a person practising or affecting extreme strictness in religion or morals. --adj. 1 hist. of or relating to the Puritans. 2 scrupulous and austere in religion or morals. Derivatives: puritanism n. Etymology: LL puritas (as PURITY) after earlier Catharan (as CATHAR)

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Puritan Pu"ri*tan, n. [From Purity.] 1. (Eccl. Hist.) One who, in the time of Queen Elizabeth and the first two Stuarts, opposed traditional and formal usages, and advocated simpler forms of faith and worship than those established by law; -- originally, a term of reproach. The Puritans formed the bulk of the early population of New England. Note: The Puritans were afterward distinguished as Political Puritans, Doctrinal Puritans, and Puritans in Discipline. --Hume. 2. One who is scrupulous and strict in his religious life; -- often used reproachfully or in contempt; one who has overstrict notions. She would make a puritan of the devil. --Shak.

Webster's 1913 Dictionary

Puritan Pu"ri*tan, a. Of or pertaining to the Puritans; resembling, or characteristic of, the Puritans.

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(puritans) 1. You describe someone as a puritan when they live according to strict moral or religious principles, especially when they disapprove of physical pleasures. Bykov had forgotten that Malinin was something of a puritan... N-COUNT [disapproval] 2. Puritan attitudes are based on strict moral or religious principles and often involve disapproval of physical pleasures. Paul was someone who certainly had a puritan streak in him. ADJ: usu ADJ n [disapproval]

Collin's Cobuild Dictionary

(Puritans) The Puritans were a group of English Protestants in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries who lived in a very strict and religious way. N-COUNT

Moby Thesaurus

Albigensian, Catharist, Franciscan, Grundy, Sabbatarian, Trappist, Victorian, Waldensian, abstainer, anchorite, ascetic, austere, bhikshu, bigoted, bluenose, dervish, disapproving, dour, fakir, fanatic, firm, flagellant, fundamentalist, goody-goody, hard, hard-line, hard-nosed, hermit, hidebound, impliable, inexorable, inflexible, intolerant, iron, ironbound, ironclad, ironhanded, mendicant, mid-Victorian, moralistic, muscle-bound, narrow-minded, obdurate, obstinate, old maid, orthodox, pietist, pietistic, prig, prim, procrustean, proper, prude, prudish, purist, puristic, puritanic, puritanical, relentless, religionist, rigid, rigorist, rigoristic, rigorous, rockbound, sannyasi, severe, stern, stiff, stiff-necked, straightlaced, strait-laced, straitlaced, strict, stubborn, stuffy, unbending, uncompromising, unrelenting, unyielding, uptight, yogi, yogin, zealot


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