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

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Other Words from absolutism

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

Examples of absolutism in a Sentence

concerning absolutism Lord Acton famously observed that “absolute power corrupts absolutely”
Recent Examples on the Web But despite its liberal ideals, Weimar Germany was not committed to free speech absolutism. The Economist, "Even noxious ideas need airing—censorship only makes them stronger," 31 Jan. 2020 Parliament used impeachment to thwart monarchy’s tendency toward absolutism, with mixed results. Jill Lepore, The New Yorker, "The Invention—and Reinvention—of Impeachment," 21 Oct. 2019 Thank goodness absolutism did not prevail at the Constitution's drafting. CBS News, "What happened in the impeachment inquiry this week," 7 Dec. 2019 English society was in crisis: riven by a brutal crackdown on religious dissent, by the return of political absolutism, and by the growing threat of militant Catholicism. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "The Need for a Revival of Lockean Liberalism," 11 Sep. 2019 In recent years, reality has started to chip away at Friedman’s ideological absolutism. Michael Hiltzik, Los Angeles Times, "Column: In shocking reversal, Big Business puts the shareholder value myth in the grave," 19 Aug. 2019 So Leary’s claim that James was a proto-liberal advocate for the principle of religious toleration is weak; his claim that James had no real designs on absolutism is even weaker. James P. Sutton, National Review, "In Defense of the Glorious Revolution," 19 July 2019 Some fret about the slide toward absolutism in central European countries ranging from Poland to Turkey. Steven Rattner, New York Times, "Dambisa Moyo’s Proposals for Saving Democracy," 7 June 2018 So this really threatens James’s project of absolutism because the merchants upon whom power rested at the time were becoming more and more angry. Tim Ryan Williams, Vox, "Why we need to get to know the “bad gays” of history," 26 June 2019

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.

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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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Time Traveler for absolutism

Time Traveler

The first known use of absolutism was in 1823

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Statistics for absolutism

Last Updated

5 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Absolutism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolutism. Accessed 26 Feb. 2020.

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