an·​o·​mie | \ ˈa-nə-mē How to pronounce anomie (audio) \
variants: or less commonly anomy

Definition of anomie

: social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values The reforms of a ruined economy, under these conditions, brought about social anomie, desperation and poverty rather than relief and prosperity.— T. Mastnak also : personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals In the face of these prevailing values, many workers experience a kind of anomie. Their jobs become empty, meaningless, and intrinsically unsatisfying. — Robert Straus

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Other Words from anomie

anomic \ ə-​ˈnä-​mik How to pronounce anomic (audio) , -​ˈnō-​ How to pronounce anomic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of anomie in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Crew members were felled with intestinal ailments, and Gray had fallen into a dazed anomie. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "James Gray’s Journey from the Outer Boroughs to Outer Space," 9 Sep. 2019 In recent years, sound baths have made waves in meditation and therapeutic circles as antidotes to stress, depression, anomie, and more. Jennifer Emerling, National Geographic, "Seeking silence on a California road trip," 6 Aug. 2019 The culture gets bored when the talk turns to spiritual impoverishment, fraying familial bonds, anomie. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Millennial Who Rejects Hipness and Irony," 14 June 2019 Drnaso’s simple, rigid drawings capture the bleak blankness of much contemporary life, anomie hovering over almost every interaction, both real and virtual. Kathleen Rooney,, "Nick Drnaso's 'Sabrina' dives deep into conspiracy theory and digital-era isolation," 10 May 2018 Marxism has always been polarizing, but perhaps the political anomie of 2018 leaves the debate over its relevance less ideologically encumbered than previous milestones. Eoin O'carroll, The Christian Science Monitor, "Karl Marx turns 200: Are his ideas still relevant?," 4 May 2018 So what causes our halftime anomie, and can the causes be reasoned away? Eric Felten, WSJ, "Review: Is That All There Is?," 19 Oct. 2017 The quest for happiness amid postwar suburban anomie had already spawned Dianetics, the metaphysical movement first propounded in 1950 by L. Ron Hubbard, who four years later rebranded it as Scientology. Margalit Fox, New York Times, "Arthur Janov, 93, Dies; Psychologist Caught World’s Attention With ‘Primal Scream’," 2 Oct. 2017 The concern of the Committee for Economic Development was to prevent the economy from regressing to the levels of unemployment, weak productivity, and social anomie that characterized the 1930s. Thomas S. Hibbs, National Review, "‘The End of Loyalty’ and the Surge in Populist Sentiment," 31 Aug. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anomie.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anomie

1933, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for anomie

French anomie, from Middle French, from Greek anomia lawlessness, from anomos lawless, from a- + nomos law, from nemein to distribute — more at nimble

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Time Traveler for anomie

Time Traveler

The first known use of anomie was in 1933

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Cite this Entry

“Anomie.” The Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., Accessed 27 January 2020.

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More Definitions for anomie


variants: also anomy \ ˈan-​ə-​mē How to pronounce anomy (audio) \

Medical Definition of anomie

: social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values also : personal unrest, alienation, and anxiety that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals

More from Merriam-Webster on anomie

Nglish: Translation of anomie for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about anomie

Comments on anomie

What made you want to look up anomie? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that suddenly gains wealth or power

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