ab·​so·​lut·​ism | \ ˈab-sə-ˌlü-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce absolutism (audio) \

Definition of absolutism

1a : a political theory that absolute power should be vested in one or more rulers
b : government by an absolute ruler or authority : despotism
2 : advocacy of a rule by absolute standards or principles
3 : an absolute standard or principle

Other Words from absolutism

absolutist \ ˈab-​sə-​ˌlü-​tist How to pronounce absolutism (audio) \ noun or adjective
absolutistic \ ˌab-​sə-​(ˌ)lü-​ˈti-​stik How to pronounce absolutism (audio) \ adjective

Examples of absolutism in a Sentence

concerning absolutism Lord Acton famously observed that “absolute power corrupts absolutely”
Recent Examples on the Web Then there’s the question of Musk’s alleged free-speech absolutism. Russ Mitchellstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, 20 Apr. 2022 Over several decades, National Review devoted countless pages and pixels to the profound witness of Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn to the spiritual darkness of communist absolutism and its inevitable gulag. Peter J. Travers, National Review, 29 Mar. 2022 In a still-free country, such unfettered absolutism was never sustainable. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, 9 Feb. 2022 By the 1990s, the party had moved dramatically to the right, and the divisions were no longer about ideology but about absolutism. Nicole Hemmer, CNN, 20 Jan. 2022 It’s the extremist view—left or right—that an electoral victory is a mandate to dismantle the institutional framework that protects minorities and blocks the ambitions of absolutism. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, 26 Dec. 2021 Jurists appealed to the customary freedoms of a preliterate past as a legal foil to royal absolutism. Kwame Anthony Appiah, The New York Review of Books, 16 Dec. 2021 But this conviction, this heady combination of piety and absolutism, also can be a cautionary tale. San Diego Union-Tribune, 5 Sep. 2021 Nelson doesn’t disavow the current ideology of the left, but does decry its absolutism as a flattening of the discussion that prevents us from seeing ideas all the way through. BostonGlobe.com, 26 Aug. 2021 See More

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

First Known Use of absolutism

1823, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for absolutism

absolute + -ism (in political sense after French absolutisme)

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The first known use of absolutism was in 1823

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Last Updated

10 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Absolutism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolutism. Accessed 16 May. 2022.

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More from Merriam-Webster on absolutism

Nglish: Translation of absolutism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of absolutism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about absolutism


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