• WordNet 3.6
    • n puritan a person excessively concerned about propriety and decorum
    • n puritan someone who adheres to strict religious principles; someone opposed to sensual pleasures
    • n Puritan 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
    • ***
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: To be born on Sunday was considered a sign of great sin during the Puritan times
    • a Puritan Of or pertaining to the Puritans; resembling, or characteristic of, the Puritans.
    • Puritan 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."
    • Puritan (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.
    • ***
Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia
  • Interesting fact: In 1649, Massachusetts's Puritan government ruled the following: "Any childe over 16 who shall CURSE or SMITE their natural FATHER or MOTHER, or act in a STUBBORNE or REBELLIOUS manner shall be put to death."
    • n Puritan One who is very strict and serious in his religious life, or who pretends to great purity of life: first used about 1564, and applied to certain Anabaptists: frequently a term of contempt.
    • n Puritan [capitalized] One of a class of Protestants which arose in England in the sixteenth century. The Puritans maintained a strict Calvinism in doctrine, and demanded, in opposition to those who desired a reform of the church service, the substitution of one from which should be banished all resemblance whatever to the forms of the Roman Catholic Church. Large numbers of them were found both in and out of the Church of England, and various repressive measures were directed against them by the sovereigns and by the prelates Parker, Whitgift, Bancroft, Laud, and others. In the reign of Charles I. the Puritans developed into a political party and gradually gained the ascendancy, but lost it on Cromwell's death, and after the Restoration ceased to be prominent in history. During their early struggles many of them emigrated to New England, especially to the Massachusetts Bay Colony. One band of Puritans who separated entirely from the Church were called Separatists or Brownists, and from them came the founders of the Plymouth Colony, often called Pilgrim Fathers or Pilgrims.
    • n Puritan Synonyms Puritan, Pilgrim. Careful distinction should be made between the Pilgrims or Pilgrim Fathers, who settled at Plymouth in 1620, and the Puritans, who in 1628–30 founded the colony of Massachusetts Bay at Salem and Boston.
    • Puritan [capitalized] Of, pertaining to, or characteristic of the Puritans.
    • Puritan Synonyms Puritan, Puritanic. Puritanic (or puritanical) is now generally used in a depreciative sense; Puritan in a commendatory or a neutral sense.
    • ***
Chambers's Twentieth Century Dictionary
  • Interesting fact: Strict Puritan laws had their origins from practical reasons. Smoking was banned farmers would raise badly needed food crops instead of tobacco. Cooking was banned on Sundays to prevent house fires during the long hours the family was at church. Young men were banned from hunting to prevent weapons from falling into Indian hands.
    • n Puritan pūr′i-tan one aiming at greater strictness in religious life, esp. one of a religious and political party having such aims in the time of Elizabeth and the Stuarts
    • adj Puritan pertaining to the Puritans
    • ***


  • Gunther Grass
    Gunther Grass
    “Art is so wonderfully irrational, exuberantly pointless, but necessary all the same. Pointless and yet necessary, that's hard for a puritan to understand.”
  • Joseph Wood Krutch
    Joseph Wood Krutch
    “The most serious charge that can be brought against New England is not Puritanism but February.”
  • Lord Melbourne
    “Once is orthodox, twice is puritanical.”
  • Gilbert K. Chesterton
    “A puritan is a person who pours righteous indignation into the wrong things.”
  • Kenneth Hare
    Kenneth Hare
    “The puritan through life's sweet garden goes to pluck the thorn and cast away the rose.”
  • Thomas B. Macaulay
    “The puritan hated bear baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators.”


Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary
From Purity


In literature:

Oliver Cromwell is in history much less the leader of Puritanism than the tamer of Puritanism.
"A Short History of England" by G. K. Chesterton
The King retains Puritan councillors, who are kindly disposed to the Massachusetts Bay Puritans.
"The Loyalists of America and Their Times, Vol. 1 of 2" by Egerton Ryerson
As the middle-class experience implied the Protestant theory of religion, it implied the Puritan conception of morals and conduct.
"Beginnings of the American People" by Carl Lotus Becker
Under one form or another Puritanism is to be found in almost all religions, and in many systems of philosophy.
"Milton" by Sir Walter Alexander Raleigh
Coldness and Reserve of the Descendants of the Puritans accounted for.
"A Treatise on Domestic Economy" by Catherine Esther Beecher
Compare the Puritan of Milton's boyhood with the Puritan of the Civil War.
"Teachers' Outlines for Studies in English" by Gilbert Sykes Blakely
God's Word, as the Puritan prophets of that time had read it: this was great, and all else was little to him.
"The Best of the World's Classics, Vol. V (of X) - Great Britain and Ireland III" by Various
We are now, it is constantly said, an incurably Puritanic people.
"Appreciations and Criticisms of the Works of Charles Dickens" by G. K. Chesterton
The strict observance of Sunday as a holy day was one of the characteristics of the Puritans.
"Home Life in Colonial Days" by Alice Morse Earle
From this date his severity towards the Puritans increased.
"The Cathedral Church of Canterbury [2nd ed.]." by Hartley Withers
Mary Stuart was given in charge to the Puritan Lord Huntingdon.
"History of the English People" by John Richard Green
He had broken with Puritanism, and England was growing more Puritan every day.
"History of the English People, Volume V (of 8)" by John Richard Green
We see the Puritan divine, the Puritan soldier, becoming the Puritan statesman.
"Blackwood's Edinburgh Magazine, Volume 61, No. 378, April, 1847" by Various
The old strict bitterness and narrowness of Puritanism had been softened and refined away.
"A Little Girl in Old Boston" by Amanda Millie Douglas
Fire arose, nodded to the little Puritan on the sofa, took the arm of her escort, and walked away.
"Cruel As The Grave" by Mrs. Emma D. E. N. Southworth
Though Puritan children had few recreations and amusements, they must have enjoyed a very cheerful, happy home life.
"Customs and Fashions in Old New England" by Alice Morse Earle
Puritan marriage.+ The Puritan sects made marriage more secular, as the Romish Church made it more ecclesiastical.
"Folkways" by William Graham Sumner
These men were bitter in their denunciation of the Puritan government.
"The Fathers of New England" by Charles M. Andrews
When some of the leading men of the London Company pleaded with James for the Puritans, the King lent a ready ear.
"Virginia under the Stuarts 1607-1688" by Thomas J. Wertenbaker
The doctor's servile adulation of the minister gave even great offence to the over-zealous puritans.
"Curiosities of Literature, Vol. 3 (of 3)" by Isaac Disraeli

In poetry:

My Puritan training
Has kept me from going
To dramas in which
Little Olga was showing.
"Footlight Motifs" by Franklin Pierce Adams
What if no puritanic strain
Confines him to the nice?
He will not pass this way or again
Or hunger for you twice.
"To A Brown Girl" by Countee Cullen
Where Puritan, and Cavalier,
With shout and psalm contended;
And Rupert's oath, and Cromwell's prayer,
With battle-thunder blended.
"The Exiles. 1660" by John Greenleaf Whittier
For ruth and chivalry only slept,
His Saxon manhood the yeoman kept;
Quicker or slower, the same blood ran
In the Cavalier and the Puritan.
"How The Women Went From Dover" by John Greenleaf Whittier
Hold fast your Puritan heritage,
But let the free thought of the age
Its light and hope and sweetness add
To the stern faith the fathers had.
"Haverhill" by John Greenleaf Whittier
The food was scant, the fruits were few
A red-streak glistening here and there;
Perchance in statelier precincts grew
Some stern old Puritanic pear.
"The New Eden" by Oliver Wendell Holmes

In news:

Why the Puritans found the holiday suspect—and we should, too.
Winthrop and his fellow passengers were Puritans , and for Puritans life in England was especially hard.
Ah, the simple pleasures of 17th-century Puritan life.
A Puritan Pulp Hero by Robert E Howard.
America's most puritanical wild woman.
Edwards the victim of political Puritanism .
Banished from Massachusetts, the Puritan minister originated a principle that remains contentious to this day—separation of church and state.
Publisher Who Fought Puritanism, and Won.
Puritan and Schaefer shooting west Detroit 3.
Pilgrims and Puritans, naturally, hated the water, but by the turn of the century certain pleasures had been rediscovered.
Perhaps We're Less Puritanical.
But in France, we are perhaps less puritanical than Americans about sexual matters.
Using the "destruction of our kids" argument is just part of the puritanical crusade in America to eliminate all adult pleasures while eroding some of our country's most basic constitutional privileges.
Puritans' passion: Band riffs off Prince Charles ' wedding.
"I think I ended up being the scarlet woman partly because of my rather puritanical upbringing and beliefs," she once said.