|Puritan ((in the late 16th and 17th centuries) ˈpjʊərɪtən)|
|1.||any of the more extreme English Protestants, most of whom were Calvinists, who wished to purify the Church of England of most of its ceremony and other aspects that they deemed to be Catholic|
|2.||of, characteristic of, or relating to the Puritans|
"The Puritan hated bear-baiting, not because it gave pain to the bear, but because it gave pleasure to the spectators." [Thomas Babington Macaulay, "History of England," 1849]Puritanism (1570s) was famously defined by H.L. Mencken as "the haunting fear that someone, somewhere may be happy" (1920).
A group of radical English Protestants that arose in the late sixteenth century and became a major force in England during the seventeenth century. Puritans wanted to “purify” the Church of England by eliminating traces of its origins in the Roman Catholic Church. In addition, they urged a strict moral code and placed a high value on hard work (see work ethic). After the execution of King Charles I in 1649, they controlled the new government, the Commonwealth. Oliver Cromwell, who became leader of the Commonwealth, is the best-known Puritan.
Note: Many Puritans, persecuted in their homeland, came to America in the 1620s and 1630s, settling colonies that eventually became Massachusetts. (See Pilgrims and Plymouth Colony.)
Note: The words puritan and puritanical have come to suggest a zeal for keeping people from enjoying themselves.