Definition of purist in English:



  • 1A person who insists on absolute adherence to traditional rules or structures, especially in language or style.

    ‘the production has yet to offend Gilbert and Sullivan purists’
    as modifier ‘purist fans of the original comic strip’
    • ‘Some purists will insist that blackjack and poker are two entirely different games.’
    • ‘A purist and a traditionalist, Gangubai has always believed in the classical tradition of music.’
    • ‘This was the type of fight that boxing fans like and purists of the ignoble art turn their backs on.’
    • ‘But that in itself is not the problem, although it may have the more purist fans of the novel grumbling.’
    • ‘But the food industry would see her as scaremongering, or at least taking a too purist view of modern nutrition.’
    • ‘Round the world people are just getting on with it, but there will always be the purist styles.’
    • ‘It's only a little mark, but its misuse arouses more bad temper among purists than any other punctuation.’
    • ‘Chai's dish of choice is far from traditional, but he insists that purists are missing out.’
    • ‘How did every one react when you veered away from the purist classical tradition.’
    • ‘A purist approach to the language of the section, taken as a whole, tends to favour Mr Katkowski's approach.’
    • ‘Her poetry is quite good, she knows, if a bit too popular for literary purists.’
    • ‘However, Asmita has come in for criticism from purists who feel traditional art forms must not be tampered with.’
    • ‘This does defeat the idea that any component can be available to anybody but it is only the technology purists that believe this to be practical.’
    • ‘You may be a purist and prefer traditional products from European mills, but today it seems it's all about choice.’
    • ‘Those out there who are anti-war for the purist of ideological reasons, I salute.’
    • ‘Traditional purists will bemoan these suggestions as a dilution of tradition.’
    • ‘However, the author is sore that he has been disowned by Marathi literary purists.’
    • ‘For purists and traditionalists there's only one choice - tried and tested ceramic.’
    • ‘For all its harshness, Ladakh's is a fragile environment, and purists might balk at the kind of meal my hosts cooked that night.’
    • ‘Rao has an inimitable style with the purist in him steadfastly refusing to dilute and encash.’
    pedant, precisionist, perfectionist, formalist, literalist, stickler, traditionalist, doctrinaire, quibbler, hair-splitter, dogmatist, casuist, sophist, fault-finder, caviller, carper, pettifogger
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  • 2An adherent of Purism.

    as modifier ‘Purist painters’
    • ‘In the mid 1920s his work became more figurative in a manner recalling Léger and the Purists (he met Léger, Le Corbusier and Ozenfant when he revisited Paris in 1924), and his work met with considerable acclaim in France.’
    • ‘The founders of New Earth called themselves Purists.’
    • ‘He floundered badly until he met Ozenfant in that same year, and they published the painting manifesto Apres le Cubisme and began to create what became their new Purist works.’
    • ‘‘L' Esprit Nouveau’ focuses on the work of Le Corbusier and Amedee Ozenfant, founders of the Purist movement, and their colleague Fernand Leger.’
    • ‘In Paris he turned to Cubism after meeting Juan Gris and was also influenced by Picasso and the work of the Purists.’
    • ‘They were to become isolated to the point that they forged a new selfhood born of solitude, inspired by the type of atavistic visual symbolism that Purist painting provided.’
    • ‘After World War I, when Léger became friends with leaders of the Purist movement in Paris, his work exemplified the machine aesthetic.’
    • ‘First, she overstates the case that the Purist aesthetic which emerged in the 1920s, enchanted with ‘the thing in itself’ and enamored of a certain visual literalism, dominates American photography.’
    • ‘The Cubist mask and the Purist half-object embedded in its field or surround set up reciprocal relationships through their respective placements.’
    • ‘Hailing, as he did, from Memphis, having grown up during the Purist tensions of the sixties and seventies, he was already sensitized to the rhetoric.’
    • ‘The monographs include studies of the Bismarck monument in Hamburg, the Gothic Wertheim department store in Berlin of 1904, and Le Corbusier's Purist paintings, interpreted almost as religious icons.’


Early 18th century: from French puriste, from pur ‘pure’.