ac·​tiv·​ism | \ˈak-ti-ˌvi-zəm \

Definition of activism 

: a doctrine or practice that emphasizes direct vigorous action especially in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue political activism environmental activism

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Other Words from activism

activist \ ˈak-​ti-​vist \ noun or adjective
activistic \ ˌak-​ti-​ˈvis-​tik \ adjective

Examples of activism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Though much of the activism began at a grassroots level — with teachers linking up on Facebook — large-scale demonstrations received logistical support from the Kentucky Education Association. Mandy Mclaren, The Courier-Journal, "Supreme Court's Janus ruling could impact Kentucky teachers unions," 27 June 2018 Oscar Robertson commends the off-court activism of today's NBA players, although the Hall of Famer wonders why more white athletes aren't speaking out, too. Beth Harris,, "When it comes to off-court activism, Oscar Robertson wonders: 'Where are the white athletes?'," 26 June 2018 Get our daily newsletter The brothers’ activism reached fever pitch during the presidency of Barack Obama, whom the Koch brothers considered a seriously misguided socialist. The Economist, "David Koch’s retirement and the conservative movement," 7 June 2018 Plenty of politicians have been critical of the students’ activism, but hopefully their words and actions will eventually end up enacting change. Jacob Mcadams, Houston Chronicle, "SJC vals, sals heading for SHSU," 28 May 2018 A few years back, coming down from the buzz of the early activism, Grant found himself back on the couch, sucked into the darkness. Chris Ballard,, "Same Warrior, New Battle: Brian Grant Won't Back Down From Parkinson's Disease," 2 May 2018 John Russell, a Democratic activist who help organize the Indivisible movement in the area after Trump's election, is also running, banking on the support of anti-Trump fervor that animated the post-2016 activism. Eric Bradner, CNN, "Arizona result foreshadows a big special election battle in Ohio," 27 Apr. 2018 How the activism of iGen in high school will translate into adulthood is anybody’s guess, but the Center for Generational Kinetics suggests the group could change how business is conducted. Suzanne Baker, Naperville Sun, "As students plan another walkout, experts credit social media and civics classes for activism," 16 Apr. 2018 What these figures reveal, perhaps not surprisingly, is that the fortunes of the firearms industry are deeply intertwined with the political activism of the NRA. Elliott Woods, The New Republic, "Essential reporting, interpretation, and opinion on politics and culture. Don't miss our latest.," 16 Apr. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'activism.' 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 activism

1915, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for activism

borrowed from German Aktivismus, from aktiv active entry 1 + -ismus -ism

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Statistics for activism

Last Updated

5 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for activism

The first known use of activism was in 1915

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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