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

This is especially true of American democracy, since the Founders deliberately gave us a government resistant to radical change, designed to avoid the extremes of monarchical absolutism and popular whim. Adam Kirsch, The Atlantic, "Bill Clinton’s Novel Isn't a Thriller—It's a Fantasy," 16 June 2018 But after years of settlement building, a second intifada, instability throughout the region, and the rise of absolutism on both sides, a paralyzing mistrust took hold. Adam Entous, The New Yorker, "Donald Trump’s New World Order," 11 June 2018 Media love storylines and fans love absolutism so none of us give luck enough credit. Sam Mellinger, kansascity, "Mellinger Minutes: Big 12 success, ranking coaches and what if Weber makes Final Four? | The Kansas City Star," 20 Mar. 2018 This book takes an important, albeit uncomfortable, look at the health-seeking practices of our era, documenting the tendency toward self-righteous cultural absolutism that has always accompanied American health fads. Rachel Newcomb, chicagotribune.com, "Americans have resolved to live forever or die in the attempt," 8 May 2018 Huffman seems to take the free speech absolutism approach of letting sunlight disinfect the world of extremist viewpoints and bigotry, or to offload the work to subreddit admins and site moderators when applicable. Nick Statt, The Verge, "Reddit CEO says racism is permitted on the platform, and users are up in arms," 11 Apr. 2018 But for Mah and his peers who oppose the Back to Fitrah message, this absolutism is the crux of the issue. NBC News, "Malaysian university holds contest to convert gay students," 3 Apr. 2018 And yet Brown steered away from the language of absolutism. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "Inside California’s War on Trump," 19 Mar. 2018 For years, the NRA supported common-sense regulations, but in the 1970s, new leadership moved the group toward Second Amendment absolutism. Kevin Canfield, San Francisco Chronicle, "‘Loaded: A Disarming History of the Second Amendment,’ by Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz," 1 Mar. 2018

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

The first known use of absolutism was in 1823

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