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The Collaborative International Dictionary

Purism \Pur"ism\, n. [Cf. F. purisme.] Rigid purity; the quality of being affectedly pure or nice, especially in the choice of language; over-solicitude as to purity. ``His political purism.''
--De Quincey.

The English language, however, . . . had even already become too thoroughly and essentially a mixed tongue for his doctrine of purism to be admitted to the letter.

Douglas Harper's Etymology Dictionary

1803, of language, from French purisme (see purist + -ism). As a movement in art from 1921.


n. 1 (context uncountable English) An insistence on the traditionally correct way of doing things, especially of language 2 (context countable English) An example of purist language etc


Purism, referring to the arts, was a movement that took place between 1918–1925 that influenced French painting and architecture. Purism was led by Amédée Ozenfant and Charles Edouard Jeanneret (Le Corbusier). Ozenfant and Le Corbusier created a variation of Cubist movement and called it Purism.

Purism (Spanish architecture)
Purism (architecture) redirects here. For another form of purism in architecture, see Purism (arts)

Purism is an initial phase of Renaissance architecture in Spain, which took place between 1530 and 1560, after to Isabelline Gothic and prior to the Herrerian architecture in the last third of the 16th century. The name "Prince Philip" refers to the period in which Philip II of Spain (born in 1527) had not yet received the inheritance of the Spanish Monarchy by abdication of his father the Emperor Charles V (1556). The name "Serlian" is due to the influential architect and treatise Sebastiano Serlio (in addition to the architectural element called Serlian in his honor). The Greco-Roman, the purist and the casticist are relate to the interpretation given to different elements of style, whether intellectual, formal, structural or decorative. Until then, writers of the period termed the classicist forms of the Italian Renaissance as the roman (Diego de Sagredo Las Medidas del Romano, 1526), while the late-Gothic forms were called the modern. For a more stylistic periodization more common in the art history, at that point of the 16th century the Cinquecento had entered in its Mannerist phase, while for the Spanish art is commonly used the expression High Renaissance (reserving the term Low Renaissance for the last third of the century).

Purism (disambiguation)

Purism is an arts style, applied to various arts.

Purism or purist may also refer to:

  • Purist, a person who adheres strictly and often excessively to a tradition
  • Purism (Spanish architecture)
  • Purism (Computers)
  • Linguistic purism

Usage examples of "purism".

The simplicity and purism of the tea-room resulted from emulation of the Zen monastery.

It is the icy purism of the sword-soul before which Shinto-Japan prostrates herself even to-day.

But the spirit of purism has so perverted the human mind that it has lost the power to appreciate the beauty of nudity, forcing us to hide the natural form under the plea of chastity.

In equally stupid manner purism seeks to check the terrible scourge of its own creation--venereal diseases.

Mackintosh applauds such purism, though he suspects that the hallstand is a church screen which has come down in the world.

His fate was perhaps as sad as well might be, and as foul a blot to the purism of these very pure times in which we live.

Most of these are rejected by the purism of the literary language, which, however, has been compelled to borrow the phraseology of modern civilization from the Russian, French and other European languages.

One day he perceived that Phemie Teinturiere had one knee better shaped than the other, and as his was an austere purism as regards plastics, he sent Phemie about her business, giving her as a souvenir the cane with which he had addressed such frequent remarks to her.

Mackintosh applauds such purism, though he suspects that the hallstand is a church screen which has come down in the world.