1. A member of a group of English Protestants who in the 1500s and 1600s advocated strict religious discipline along with simplification of the ceremonies and creeds of the Church of England.
2. puritan A person who is very strict or austere in religious practice or moral outlook, especially someone who regards pleasure or luxury as sinful.
1. Of or relating to the Puritans or Puritanism.
2. puritan Characteristic of a puritan; puritanical.
[From Late Latin pūritās, purity (on the model of Medieval Latin Kathari, "the Pure Ones," a third-century sect of rigorist heretics), from Latin pūrus, pure; see peuə- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots.]
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition copyright ©2019 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.
Indo-European & Semitic Roots Appendices
Thousands of entries in the dictionary include etymologies that trace their origins back to reconstructed proto-languages. You can obtain more information about these forms in our online appendices:
The Indo-European appendix covers nearly half of the Indo-European roots that have left their mark on English words. A more complete treatment of Indo-European roots and the English words derived from them is available in our Dictionary of Indo-European Roots.