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 No one is better positioned than this class of graduates to take that activism to the next level. New York Times, "Read the Full Transcript of Obama’s H.B.C.U. Commencement Speech," 16 May 2020 And despite her own mother’s activism, Jarvis wasn’t thrilled about activist groups politicizing the holiday, either. Erin Corbett,, "The Surprisingly Radical History Of Mother’s Day," 15 May 2020 In much of the region, which less than 10 years ago experienced an awakening of political and personal freedoms, culture, and the media, activism has become a matter of life or death. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, "Facing down jail and wealthy foes, Arab rights defenders soldier on," 12 May 2020 Here again there is a valuable lesson regarding activism from the history of global health. Luke Messac, STAT, "A lesson on physician activism from Malawi’s legendary Dr. John Chiphangwi," 6 May 2020 Paula had mixed feelings about the antiwar activism on campus. Brian Albrecht, cleveland, "“I saw the muzzle flashes. ‘Oh, my god.’ ” — Couple implored students to avoid Kent State protest, then watched shootings in horror," 3 May 2020 Presumably, the film's brisk pace and lively visuals are meant to appeal to those who steer clear of wonky political debate or left-leaning activism. John Defore, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Capital in the Twenty-First Century': Film Review," 30 Apr. 2020 Though the internet does offer some alternatives for protest movements, online activism isn’t easily employed everywhere—especially in places where street protests aren’t just a method of signaling dissent, but the dominant form. Yasmeen Serhan, The Atlantic, "Can Mass-Protest Movements Survive the Coronavirus?," 23 Apr. 2020 If political organizing has to take place online over the coming months, the environment is likely to favor conservatives, according to Jen Schradie, a sociologist at Sciences Po in Paris who studies digital activism. Popular Science, "Will social distancing sidetrack the climate movement?," 21 Apr. 2020

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

20 May 2020

Cite this Entry

“Activism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2020.

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More from Merriam-Webster on activism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with activism

Nglish: Translation of activism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of activism for Arabic Speakers

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