prim

prim adj Prim, priggish, prissy, prudish, puritanical, straitlaced, stuffy mean excessively concerned with what one regards as proper or right. Prim and priggish (see also COMPLACENT) both imply an excessive and conscious fastidiousness in manners and morals that often more or less displeases an observer.
Prim, however, often suggests stiffness and preciseness of manner as well as extreme decorousness, and priggish connotes a more or less offensive, but not necessarily conscious, assumption of moral superiority, so that they are rarely interchangeable. Further, prim is often applied to the dress, words, or actions of persons but priggish is seldom referred to anything but the person or to something that directly reveals his personality
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in the reign of James I the conduct of ladies and gentlemen was not marked by the same prim propriety as in the reign of the highly respectable Victoria— Ellis

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Charlotte Lovell was meant to be an old maid .... There was something prim about her in spite of her fiery hair— Wharton

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a widower, a man with a prim sour mouth and an expression of eternal disapproval all over his face— Dahi

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there is ... no moralizing of that offensively priggish kind which the instinct of boys teaches them to despise and mistrust— Pall Mall Gazette

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it was, as you warned me, very expensive. But I have no priggish objections to a little luxury— Ambler

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Prissy, though sometimes very close to prim in meaning, is applied to a person who shows, or to a thing that manifests, an exaggerated sense of what is proper or precise; the term connotes sissiness but usually as a feminine concern for niceties of expression, of conduct, or of design and may imply a lack of forcefulness or virility
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an outspoken candidate who offended the prissiest members of his party

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shock words may wear out their welcome just as readily as prissy ones— New Republic

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a shockable, narrow, prissy people obeying the rules . . . and protecting their treasured, specialized pruderies— Theodore Sturgeon

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Prudish implies a modesty and decorousness so marked as to seem affected or overasserted; the term, however, seldom suggests pretense but rather an undue consciousness of propriety or fear of impropriety or an excessive sense of the importance of modesty and decorum
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a verse, not fettered in its movements, or prudish in its expressions— Edinburgh Review

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tried to condemn her own attitude as old-fashioned, prudish. There was no such thing as an adulteress anymore, she told herself— Wouk

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had become so serious, so prudish almost, since she had given up balls and taken to visiting the poor— Wharton

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Puritanical, often capitalized, may refer specifically to the religion of the Puritans especially as it showed itself in strict regulation of behavior, but in ordinary uncapital- ized use it more often suggests only an excessive narrowness or illiberality in judgment (as of books, plays, or pictures), in regulation (as of manners and morals), or in narrowly determining the boundary between what is good and what is bad
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the puritanical suspicion of beauty

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that Fielding in his hatred for humbug should have condemned purity as puritanical, is clearly lamentable— Stephen

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he held old-fashioned and rather puritanical views as to the vice of luxury and the sin of idleness— Woolf

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afraid that if it became known he might jeopardize his position in the rather puritanical community, he avoided consulting any of the Coltertown doctors— Elmer Rice

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Straitlaced and stuffy are derogatory terms applicable to persons or things that are markedly puritanical or prudish; straitlaced refers more often to a person or his principles from a less subjective point of view than does stuffy, which is usually a term of contempt expressive of their effect upon the observer
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"Stuffy, my lord; it's an expression a good deal used in modern Society." "What does it mean?" "Straitlaced, my lord"— Galsworthy

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a stuffy book

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abiding by the rather involved, stuffy code of ethics— Riggs

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set himself incautiously to the business of assailing the straitlaced authorities of Boston— Partington

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Analogous words: precise, *correct, nice: *decorous, proper: *stiff, rigid, wooden

New Dictionary of Synonyms. 2014.

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • əprimə — «Əprimək»dən f. is …   Azərbaycan dilinin izahlı lüğəti

  • prim — prim·er; prim·i·ces; prim·i·tive·ly; prim·i·tive·ness; prim·i·tiv·ism; prim·i·tiv·i·ty; prim·i·tiv·ization; prim·ly; prim·ness; prim·rosy; prim·sie; prim·u·la; prim·u·la·ce·ae; prim·u·la·les; prim·u·lav·er·in; prim·u·line; prim·u·li·nus;… …   English syllables

  • PRIM (J.) — PRIM JUAN (1814 1870) Parmi les nombreux généraux espagnols qui ont joué un rôle prépondérant dans la politique espagnole, après la guerre d’Indépendance et surtout grâce aux guerres coloniales en Amérique et aux guerres carlistes en Espagne,… …   Encyclopédie Universelle

  • Prim — (von lateinisch primus ‚der erste‘) kann verschiedene Bedeutungen haben: von Primus in der Mathematik bezeichnet das Adjektiv prim die Eigenschaft einer Zahl, eine Primzahl zu sein, bzw. relativ prim die Eigenschaft zweier Zahlen,… …   Deutsch Wikipedia

  • Prim — may refer to either of the following:* Dolní Přím, a village in Bohemia, as Nieder Prim (Lower Prim) site of the Battle of Königgrätz * Prim, Arkansas in Cleburne County, Arkansas * a river in Baden Württemberg, see *Primitive (geometry), the… …   Wikipedia

  • prim´ly — prim «prihm», adjective, prim|mer, prim|mest, verb, primmed, prim|ming. –adj. precise, neat, proper, or formal in a stiff way: »friends…staid and prim, of evangelical tendencies ( …   Useful english dictionary

  • prim — [prım] adj [Date: 1700 1800; Origin: Perhaps from Old French prin excellent, fine , from Latin primus; PRIME1] 1.) very formal and careful in the way you speak and behave, and easily shocked by anything rude ▪ She looked prim and nervous in her… …   Dictionary of contemporary English

  • prim — [ prım ] adjective 1. ) very careful about your behavior and appearance, and easily shocked by what other people do or say: prim and proper 2. ) prim clothes are neat, sensible, and show very little of your body: wearing a prim Victorian dress ╾… …   Usage of the words and phrases in modern English

  • Prim — Prim, a. [OF. prim, prin, prime, first, principal. sharp, thin, piercing, fr. L. primus first. See {Prime}, a.] Formal; precise; affectedly neat or nice; as, prim regularity; a prim person. Swift. [1913 Webster] …   The Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • Prim — 〈f. 20〉 1. 〈kath. Kirche〉 morgendl. Gebetstunde 2. 〈Mus.〉 = Prime (2) 3. 〈Sp.; Fechten〉 = Prime (3) [zu lat. primus „der erste“] * * * prim <Adj.> [rückgeb. aus ↑ Primzahl] (Math.) …   Universal-Lexikon

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