Definition of purist in US English:



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

    • ‘How did every one react when you veered away from the purist classical tradition.’
    • ‘However, Asmita has come in for criticism from purists who feel traditional art forms must not be tampered with.’
    • ‘Some purists will insist that blackjack and poker are two entirely different games.’
    • ‘Chai's dish of choice is far from traditional, but he insists that purists are missing out.’
    • ‘It's only a little mark, but its misuse arouses more bad temper among purists than any other punctuation.’
    • ‘But the food industry would see her as scaremongering, or at least taking a too purist view of modern nutrition.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘This was the type of fight that boxing fans like and purists of the ignoble art turn their backs on.’
    • ‘You may be a purist and prefer traditional products from European mills, but today it seems it's all about choice.’
    • ‘A purist and a traditionalist, Gangubai has always believed in the classical tradition of music.’
    • ‘Rao has an inimitable style with the purist in him steadfastly refusing to dilute and encash.’
    • ‘However, the author is sore that he has been disowned by Marathi literary purists.’
    • ‘But that in itself is not the problem, although it may have the more purist fans of the novel grumbling.’
    • ‘Her poetry is quite good, she knows, if a bit too popular for literary purists.’
    • ‘A purist approach to the language of the section, taken as a whole, tends to favour Mr Katkowski's approach.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘Round the world people are just getting on with it, but there will always be the purist styles.’
    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.

    • ‘The founders of New Earth called themselves Purists.’
    • ‘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 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.’
    • ‘In Paris he turned to Cubism after meeting Juan Gris and was also influenced by Picasso and the work of the Purists.’
    • ‘The Cubist mask and the Purist half-object embedded in its field or surround set up reciprocal relationships through their respective placements.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘After World War I, when Léger became friends with leaders of the Purist movement in Paris, his work exemplified the machine aesthetic.’
    • ‘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.’
    • ‘‘L' Esprit Nouveau’ focuses on the work of Le Corbusier and Amedee Ozenfant, founders of the Purist movement, and their colleague Fernand Leger.’
    • ‘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.’


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