Definition of purism in US English:



  • 1Scrupulous or exaggerated observance of or insistence on traditional rules or structures, especially in language or style.

    • ‘Harry Seidler's breathtaking refinement of detail and visual purism, when it appeared after World War II, was aided by a new interpretation of modern architecture.’
    • ‘This ‘Minister of Political Correctness’ is more interested in cultural sensitivity and environmental purism, than the protection of public safety in that area.’
    • ‘Gandhi could not live up to his principles partly because he was a practical politician, and the job of politics is to dilute ideological and moral purism.’
    • ‘Owen later mirrors his father's retreat into the classical past by converting to Irish language purism, signalled by his decision to restore the seventh-century name of the Murren instead of Anglicizing it.’
    • ‘There are few self-confessed purists among the critics of the English language today; purism is generally a negative term, and by and large purists are regarded as hypercorrective extremists.’
    • ‘When it comes to purism, the activists tell us that we cannot be too pure.’
    • ‘What Bakhtin finds onerous in Kant's philosophical formulations is its purism and utopianism.’
    • ‘This attack states, in effect, that Hiatt's purism is unsustainable in the real world, and that government contracts do not automatically lead to corruption of academic integrity.’
    • ‘An extreme case of the role of purism in the expression of nationalistic and racial conscience can be seen in Nazi Germany.’
    • ‘His gentlemanly approach to woman and his racial purism are enough to convince conservatives that he will turn around the social liberalism of the last, well, 30 years I guess.’
    • ‘About that kind of purism, there is also something slightly repugnant.’
    • ‘In approaching such an artist, one could be forgiven for sniffing the air for a tinge of stuffy curatorial purism or poker-faced pedantry.’
    • ‘Nurse managers tend to hold systematised conceptions of clinical work and to be somewhat equivocal about clinical purism and opaque accountability’
    • ‘Hugh's rejection of what he has recognized puts the burden on us in the audience to turn from the past to the future, from linguistic purism to linguistic ecumenism, and from physical force to imaginative growth.’
    • ‘They use separate chapters to evaluate the respective influence of political structure, the American Federation of Labor, immigration, Socialist Party purism, and political repression on the fate of labor politics.’
    • ‘But generally speaking, in our emerging virtual era the stress is no longer on questions relating to style, purism, or historical tradition.’
    • ‘Both sides of the partisan divide have their little problem with purism.’
    • ‘Indeed, he associates the preservation of Irish and Irish language purism with destructive and self-destructive behaviors that jeopardize Irish survival on all levels.’
    • ‘Keen on tradition but not on purism, Moore's country, blues and waltz repertoire includes covers and original songs, some self-penned, others written by her bandmates Peter Hay and Randall Lawrence.’
    • ‘Such purism and moral fervor seem inimitable for art writing today.’
    dogmatism, literalism, formalism
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  • 2An early-20th-century artistic style and movement founded by Le Corbusier and the French painter Amédée Ozenfant (1886–1966) and emphasizing purity of geometric form. It arose out of a rejection of cubism and was characterized by a return to the representation of recognizable objects.

    • ‘Fauvism, Cubism, Futurism, Purism, Neo-Plasticism, Surrealism, Neoclassicism, social realism, his art experienced them all.’
    • ‘There are about 100 trends and technical forces shown, and 60 movements, many of them ‘isms’ - Futurism, Purism, Expressionism, Brutalism or Metabolism - that became ‘wasms’.’
    • ‘These included, as he wrote in his journals, Cubism, Futurism, Purism, Orphism, Expressionism, Dadaism, Surrealism, ‘and an avalanche of exposed secrets.’’
    • ‘Until 1926 he painted in the cool style characteristic of Purism, depicting such objects as bottles and glasses in profile.’