1590s, "one who is characterized by strict adherence to method," from method + -ist. With a capital M-, it refers to the Protestant religious denomination founded 1729 at Oxford University by John and Charles Wesley. The name had been used at least since 1686 for various new methods of worship; it was applied to the Wesleys by their fellow-students at Oxford for their methodical habits in study and religious life. Johnson (1755) describes them as "One of a new kind of puritans lately arisen, so called from their profession to live by rules and in constant method." Related: Methodism.