ac·​tiv·​ism | \ ˈak-ti-ˌvi-zəm How to pronounce activism (audio) \

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

Examples of activism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Amid a rise in corporate social activism, a fracture appears to be forming between companies that will speak out on a range of social issues (whether sincerely or not) and ones that will decline. Robert Hackett, Fortune, "Welcome to the corporate woke wars," 27 Apr. 2021 Lavender, who had been diagnosed with prostate cancer, embarked on a late-in-life career in political activism that spanned co-founding the organization Southside Together Organizing for Power, door-knocking for Ald. Alice Yin,, "Community activist Wardell Lavender, known to many as the ‘Mayor of Woodlawn,’ dies at 80," 23 Apr. 2021 In Australia, where Floyd’s death last year spurred a resurgence in activism over indigenous people’s deaths in custody, the guilty verdict led to fresh calls for authorities to scrutinize more than 400 Aboriginal deaths in custody. Washington Post, "World reacts to guilty verdict in death of George Floyd," 21 Apr. 2021 There was Grace Lee and James Boggs unified in love and in activism. Niki Mcgloster,, "Black and Asian Solidarity Has A Long History — Here Are The Women Now Leading The Way," 21 Apr. 2021 And this kind of day-in, day-out activism can become a counterproductive obsession, or devolve into just another kind of empty disability bravado. Andrew Pulrang, Forbes, "5 Difficult Questions Disabled People Struggle With Every Day," 18 Apr. 2021 The experience of political theater moving from the stage to the streets provoked new thinking in creative activism. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Revolution, interrupted. Guillermo Calderón’s potent ‘Return of the Dragon’," 9 Apr. 2021 Camden Hunt, a 28-year-old Black woman, said she first got involved in activism in her native Baltimore. Kate Brumback, Anchorage Daily News, "Hundreds in Atlanta rally against hate after spa shootings," 20 Mar. 2021 Camden Hunt, a 28-year-old Black woman, said she first got involved in activism in her native Baltimore. Kate Brumback, Chron, "Hundreds in Atlanta rally against hate after spa shootings," 20 Mar. 2021

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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Time Traveler for activism

Time Traveler

The first known use of activism was in 1915

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Statistics for activism

Last Updated

1 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Activism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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More from Merriam-Webster on activism

Nglish: Translation of activism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of activism for Arabic Speakers

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