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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.
American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright © 2016 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.



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)

Picturesque Expressions: A Thematic Dictionary, 1st Edition. © 1980 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.prudishness - excessive or affected modesty
modesty, modestness - freedom from vanity or conceit
Based on WordNet 3.0, Farlex clipart collection. © 2003-2012 Princeton University, Farlex Inc.


[ˈpruːdɪʃnɪs] n (= prudery) → pudibonderie f
Collins English/French Electronic Resource. © HarperCollins Publishers 2005


n (= prudish behaviour)Prüderie f; (= prudish nature)prüde Art; (of clothes)Sittsamkeit f
Collins German Dictionary – Complete and Unabridged 7th Edition 2005. © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1980 © HarperCollins Publishers 1991, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, 2007


[ˈpruːdɪʃnɪs] npuritanesimo
Collins Italian Dictionary 1st Edition © HarperCollins Publishers 1995
References in classic literature ?
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.
At another time he might have been shocked, for he had depths of prudishness within him.
I have always admitted that when you are inspired, when you manage to throw off your masculine cowardice and prudishness you are not to be equalled by us.
The only problem seemed to be the state regulator's extreme sensitivity towards the depiction of female athletes and prudishness when confronted with Delavigne's side-boob.
By day two, it's too much to resist and I cast my British prudishness and bikini aside, grab a towel and head for that sauna, a 42-square-metre box of bliss.
It is not because of prudishness or homophobia, like in Russia today or in China during the Cultural Revolution, that the government disapproves of such content.
However, with young children and vulnerable older citizens on the streets (and a general prudishness around nudity in Scotland), it's likely that exposing your more intimate areas will cause discomfort to those around you.
"The Victorians' prudishness was only on the surface level," says historian Dr Anne Hanley, consultant on Victoria and lecturer at Birkbeck, University of London.
More seriously it attacks the hypocritical prudishness of the US media to the sex lives of politicians, touches on the limitations of the dating game for women of a certain age and status, and flags up the higher expectations and double standards placed upon them in the public eye.
By day two, it's too much to resist and I cast my British prudishness and bikini aside, grab a towel (for hygiene, you must always sit on a towel) and head for that sauna, a 42-square-metre box of bliss.