AskDefine | Define purist

Dictionary Definition

purist n : someone who insists on great precision and correctness (especially in the use of words)

User Contributed Dictionary



  1. Of or pertaining to purism


  1. An advocate of purism

Extensive Definition

A purist is one who desires that a particular item remain true to its essence and free from adulterating or diluting influences. The term may be used in almost any field, and can be applied either to the self or to others. Use of the term may be either pejorative or complimentary, depending on context. Because the appellation depends on subjective notions of what is "pure" as opposed to "adulterating" as applied to any particular item, conflict can arise both as to whether a person so labeled is actually a purist and as to whether that is desirable.
According to the Merriam Webster's Online Dictionary, the term dates from 1706 and is defined as "a person who adheres strictly and often excessively to a tradition", especially "one preoccupied with the purity of a language and its protection from the use of foreign or altered forms."

Purism in entertainment

In entertainment, a purist is a person, gamer, or audience member who considers modifications to a particular entertainment item unnecessary or even offensive, vehemently so if against the specific wishes of the item's creator. They also may make it a point to correct fanon, which they stereotypically detest. Purists often use the term "butchered" to describe a work that they dislike.
  • Anime purists tend to vocalize their distaste of dubbed animation, and the dialogue (and sometimes plot) modifications that the dubbing process introduces. They prefer subtitled anime in the original language to the dubbed version. Many of them also object to the availability of anime through mainstream channels such as the Cartoon Network or the Sci Fi Channel, as anime often has to be edited for violence, language and other American broadcast standards. In order to meet the 1980s daily syndicated minimum guideline of 65 episodes, for example, Robotech was created by merging three unrelated anime shows and their storylines rewritten so that they relate to each other. This resulted in possibly the best-known case of anime purist hostility as reportedly, death threats were issued against series creator Carl Macek.
  • Comic book and manga purists sometimes vocalize their dislike of conversion of material into television or films, which is allegedly often modified to appeal to a more mainstream audience to varying degrees of skill.
  • The Lord of the Rings purists are fans of J. R. R. Tolkien's fantasy novel The Lord of the Rings who dislike changes in New Line Cinema's film trilogy adaptation. Again, the use of the term varies extremely widely; it may be used offensively, in a complimentary way, or neutrally. The term may be meant to connote more sophisticated appreciation than that of "fangirls". The definition especially refers to those who adamantly detest the Peter Jackson-directed trilogy for deviating even in minor detail from the original text. As many of the book's dedicated fans also enjoy these films, purists have been contrasted with "revisionists" who accept and like the changes.
  • Highlander purists deny the existence of the second Highlander installment as being incoherent and not part of the series. Some purists do not even acknowledge other or future sequels of this series.
    • DragonBall purists, are very hostile to non canon filler episodes in the DragonBall and DragonBall Z anime series and don't acknowledge DragonBall GT as being canon. The author Akira Toriyama himself disregards the story of DragonBall GT, in the upcoming DragonBall online MMORPG.

Purism in music

  • A rock purist may be a person who thinks that only the rock of 1950s, 1960s and early 1970s is good. Most of those purist take a rockism standpoint. Often heavy metal is highly disregarded. Some rock purists also think that rock should be only listened from vinyl records.
  • Heavy metal purists, also called "metal elitists", often show great distaste for more mainstream forms of heavy metal, such as glam metal and nu metal. Metal purists are most prevalent in the black metal scene, often rejecting bands for deviating from the "true" black metal sound.
  • In blues music a typical purist may think that only blues performed by black artists is "real" blues or that only acoustic blues is "real" blues. Often blues rock or white blues are disregarded.
  • In jazz music, purists usually have some year after which they think jazz music went bad. Most jazz purists hate jazz fusion and most of them don't care for avant-garde jazz and free jazz either.
  • Similar thinking prevails in classical music, especially with crossover and atonal music.

Purism in software

Refers to the advocates in the free software movement who support the freedom of computer users to modify and share the software they use. The label is often related to the two opposing positions over the issue of the inclusion of proprietary software such as device drivers in otherwise wholly free software systems such as Linux. The moderate position placed in between purism and proprietism accepts the inclusion of some proprietary software. In the effort to prevent the compromisation of software freedom the purists reject the inclusion of any proprietary software.

Purism in sports

In sports, the term purist is often used to refer to a fan of a sport who dislikes recent innovations or changes in rules of the sport.

Baseball purism

A baseball purist (or "traditionalist") heartily dislikes the changes that have taken place in Major League Baseball since 1993, which include regular season inter-league play (prior to 1997, the teams in the American League never played the teams in the National League during the regular season), the addition of a wild card team in the post-season playoffs, the four new expansion teams (the Rockies, Marlins, Diamondbacks, and Devil Rays) added in the 1990s, and the reconfiguration of the leagues into three divisions. Baseball purists also usually dislike the "designated hitter" rule, in which the pitcher is replaced in the offensive lineup by a batter who does not play a defensive field position; the American League began using this rule in 1973. Many, if not most, purists also dislike the use of artificial turf instead of real grass on the playing field, which was introduced in 1965, and the use of a domed or other indoor playing facility (also introduced in 1965, with the opening of the Astrodome in Houston).
Some purists also dislike other changes which date from the 1960s. These include the lowering of the height of the pitcher's mound after the 1968 season (a deliberate attempt to create higher scoring games), and the first reconfiguration of both leagues into two divisions in 1969, which introduced a playoff series (the American and National League Championship Series) between division winners. The expansion of both leagues from 16 teams also began in the 1960s, with the addition of four teams to each league during the decade. National League expansion teams were the New York Mets, the Houston Colt .45's, the Montreal Expos, and the San Diego Padres, while the American League expansion teams were the Los Angeles Angels, the "new" Washington Senators, the Kansas City Royals, and the Seattle Pilots. In the mid-1970s, the American League added the Toronto Blue Jays and the Seattle Mariners as well. Some purists dislike any team which did not exist prior to the expansions of the 1960s.
A smaller set of purists even dislike the franchise relocations which took place in the 1950s and 1960s, beginning prior to the 1953 season when the Braves shifted from Boston to Milwaukee, eventually moving to Atlanta in 1965. After the 1953 campaign, the Browns left St. Louis and moved to Baltimore, changing their name to the Orioles. The Athletics moved from Philadelphia to Kansas City in the mid-1950s and then on to Oakland in the late 1960s. In 1961, the original Washington Senators moved to Minnesota and became the Twins, while a new team also called the Senators was added in Washington; this team left Washington in 1972 to become the Texas Rangers. The relocations which arguably rankle purists the most may be the 1957 moves to California of the Brooklyn Dodgers and New York Giants. These purists see the era from 1920 to 1952 as a "Golden Age," in which the two major leagues fielded the same 16 teams with no additions, relocations, or major rule changes.
The most extreme baseball purists may view the "Dead-ball era" as representing baseball in its most pristine form. This refers to the time before 1920, when home runs were a rarity and baserunning, hit and run, and other station-to-station tactics were the norm.

American football purism

American football purists may also dislike artificial playing surfaces, indoor playing fields, instant replay review of calls by officials on the field. More extreme football purists may also dislike the expansions of football which took place in the 1960s and 1990s, and sometimes even the concept of the Super Bowl itself, preferring the old National Football League championships game format. The most extreme football purist would view the "single-platoon" game as superior to the "two-platoon era". Before the two-platoon game became standard in the 1940s, a single platoon game was the norm, where the same players played both offense and defense, each player continuing to hold a position on the field no matter which side had possession of the ball.

Cricket purism

Cricket Purists are basically considered the persons who like the original form of the game .i.e., Test Cricket. Test Cricket was initially played without any time constraints. Later on it was reduced to a five day format. The advent of the One day game was not liked by the purists. It was played over a day with 60 overs a side(this was later on reduced to 50 overs a side). In the 21st century, a new form of the game has emerged called the Twenty 20. The irony of its advent was that it was introduced in England who are considered very strong purists and inventors of the original Test Cricket. England has not shown a liking for the one day format; it has always preferred Test Cricket. But the introduction of the Twenty 20 was a huge success due to its short time format where a game could be played in under four hours.But this has not gone down well with the purists who consider this will degrade Test Cricket where a higher level of skill is needed.

Other sport purism

Golf purists may dislike the use of new metal materials in clubs, preferring the old wooden drivers and other clubs. Auto racing purists dislike the addition of wings and other non-mechanical aerodynamic additions to the racing cars. Soccer purists believe that the game should be played in a specific way. This includes passing along the ground, creating technical moves using speed and flair rather than long-balls. Soccer purists also condemn fouling and prefer to see the ball in play as long as possible. Arsene Wenger, manager of Arsenal F.C. shares the purist doctrine, whilst frequently complaining about over-aggressive teams such as Bolton Wanderers, who have been termed "long ball specialists" and "bullies".

Other examples

  • In religion, fundamentalists are sometimes labeled as "purists."
  • In linguistics, people who stand for preserving purity of a language by disallowing use of loan words, or the use of innovative grammatical structures, are called purists.
  • People who follow a Vegan diet are sometimes referred to as purist vegetarians.


purist in German: Purist
purist in Norwegian: Purist
purist in Finnish: Puristi

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

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