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Related to prudishness: prudery, prude


Marked by or exhibiting the characteristics of a prude; priggish.

prud′ish·ly adv.
prud′ish·ness n.



bluenose An ultraconservative in matters of morality; a puritan, prude, or Prig.

That this picture may aggravate blue nose censors is not beyond the bounds of possibility. (Variety, April 3, 1929)

As early as 1809 Washington Irving used the adjective form blue-nosed. The form in the above citation and the noun bluenose appeared later. The color blue has long been associated with conservatism and strictness, though for what reason is not clear. In the mid-19th century, conservative students at Yale and Dartmouth were called blues.

I wouldn’t carry a novel into chapel to read,… because some of the blues might see you. (Yale Literary Magazine, 1850)

The usage may derive from Connecticut’s “blue laws”—stringent restrictions on moral conduct with harsh penalties for their infraction—which obtained in the 17th and 18th centuries. They were presumably so called because originally printed on blue paper.

Goody Two Shoes A goody-goody, a nice nelly; an appellation for a person of self-righteous, sentimental, or affected goodness; also Miss Goody Two Shoes. The original Little Goody Two Shoes was the principal character in a British nursery rhyme thought to have been written by Oliver Goldsmith and published by Newbery in 1765. According to the story, Little Goody Two Shoes owned only one shoe and was so delighted at receiving a second that she went around showing both to everyone, exclaiming “Two shoes!” Although it is not clear why the nursery rhyme character Little Goody Two Shoes came to symbolize self-righteous, excessive, and affected goodness, the term appeared in the writing of the 19th-century author Anthony Trollope in just such a context:

Pray don’t go on in that Goody Two-shoes sort of way.

Mrs. Grundy The personification of conventional opinion in issues of established social propriety; a prudish, straight-laced person who becomes outraged at the slightest breach of decorum or etiquette. In Thomas Morton’s Speed the Plough (1798), Mrs. Grundy was the unseen character whose opinions in matters of social propriety were of constant concern to her neighbors:

If shame should come to the poor child—I say Jummas, what would Mrs. Grundy say then.

The expression is still used figuratively as the embodiment of public opinion.

And many are afraid of God—and more of Mrs. Grundy. (Frederick Locker, London Lyrics, 1857)

ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.prudishness - excessive or affected modesty
modesty, modestness - freedom from vanity or conceit


[ˈpruːdɪʃnɪs] n (= prudery) → pudibonderie f


n (= prudish behaviour)Prüderie f; (= prudish nature)prüde Art; (of clothes)Sittsamkeit f


[ˈpruːdɪʃnɪs] npuritanesimo
References in classic literature ?
At another time he might have been shocked, for he had depths of prudishness within him.
And on the strength of peccadillos, reprehensible in an author, but excusable in a son, the Anglo-Saxon race is accused of prudishness, humbug, pretentiousness, deceit, cunning, and bad cooking.
The work was of the same character as that which he had just been engaged on, but with the greater directness which surgery has than medicine; and a larger proportion of the patients suffered from those two diseases which a supine public allows, in its prudishness, to be spread broadcast.
It was not prudishness, for she now spoke of "the Wilcox ideal" with laughter, and even with a growing brutality.
inspired, when you manage to throw off your masculine cowardice and prudishness you are not to be equalled by us.
The decision to reduce the length of the kissing scenes was trending on social media as Indians mocked the prudishness of film certification authorities.
Even today, among artists, poets, screenwriters, and stand-up comics, the assault on cultural prudishness is a heavily male enterprise.
A lot of discourse dissolves in an adolescent giddiness regarding sex, or a prudishness that shuts down conversation altogether.
A young man is travelling in a car with his girlfriend, whose prudishness and reticence he finds charming: "He enjoy[s] her moments of shyness" (Kundera 1974: 4).
A country whose history stands testimony to the importance it once accorded to the sensual, India has all but forgotten this part of its culture in favour of Victorian prudishness.
It's not prudishness fuelling the opposition: Mr Bernays says his staff already have enough vomit and other mess to clear up from their elegant 19th Century steps in the morning, without late drinking right opposite adding to it.