ac·​tu·​al·​ism | \ ˈak-chə(-wə)-ˌli-zəm, -shə-\
plural -s

Definition of actualism

1 : a philosophical doctrine that all existence is active or spiritual, not inert or dead, or that reality is founded on activity or consists of process
2 : the theory that the self is a bundle of successive perceptions rather than a unified substance or entity
3 geology : uniformitarianism sense 1 But a uniformity of causes does not imply a uniformity of rates, intensities, conditions, or results. … Some people consider actualism a better term than uniformitarianism. Processes that actually operate now, or those inferred to operate, can explain features and events of the past.— Alan M. Cvancara, A Field Manual For The Amateur Geologist, 1995

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of actualism

1858, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for actualism

actual entry 1 + -ism

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about actualism

Statistics for actualism

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for actualism

The first known use of actualism was in 1858

See more words from the same year

Comments on actualism

What made you want to look up actualism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to speak slightingly about or to degrade

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!


Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!