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 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 Greene’s warning about the absolutism of rights in the hands of judges shows why political decision-making needs to be wrested from them in the coming years. Samuel Moyn, The New Republic, "Why Do Americans Have So Few Rights?," 9 Mar. 2021 The few people who are willing to defend these sites unconditionally do so from a position of free-speech absolutism. Adrienne Lafrance, The Atlantic, "Facebook Is a Doomsday Machine," 15 Dec. 2020 In its early years, Reddit was known as a platform for free-speech absolutism. Kaitlyn Tiffany, The Atlantic, "Reddit’s Banned Hate Groups Are Still Here," 8 Dec. 2020 There was in her arms and legs and head and heart a kind of absolutism that was almost joy. Patricia Lockwood, The New Yorker, "The Winged Thing," 23 Nov. 2020 But absolutism about masks and disregard for scientific uncertainties may promote a false... Allysia Finley, WSJ, "The Hidden Danger of Masks," 4 Aug. 2020 Liberal critics took issue at first with his moral absolutism on social issues, and later with his laissez-faire approach toward the Bill of Rights after the September 11 attacks. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Bill Barr’s Invisible Crusade," 8 June 2020 But his campaign’s impulse toward absolutism was revealing—not only of the campaign itself, but also of the way Reade’s allegation has been metabolized by the American public. Megan Garber, The Atlantic, "How Uncertainty Became a Weapon in the Tara Reade Story," 5 May 2020 The absolutism of his thundering tweets that disparaged the childhood vaccination schedule — itself meticulously vetted by experts who would, years later, be answerable to him — only hardened. New York Times, "President Trump on Vaccines: From Skeptic to Cheerleader," 9 Mar. 2020

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

23 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Absolutism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/absolutism. Accessed 10 May. 2021.

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