an·​o·​mie | \ ˈa-nə-mē How to pronounce anomie (audio) \
variants: or less commonly anomy

Definition of anomie

: social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values The reforms of a ruined economy, under these conditions, brought about social anomie, desperation and poverty rather than relief and prosperity.— T. Mastnak also : personal unrest, alienation, and uncertainty that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals In the face of these prevailing values, many workers experience a kind of anomie. Their jobs become empty, meaningless, and intrinsically unsatisfying. — Robert Straus

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Other Words from anomie

anomic \ ə-​ˈnä-​mik How to pronounce anomic (audio) , -​ˈnō-​ How to pronounce anomic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of anomie in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The future that these years of atrophy and anomie and enmity teased at arrived all at once. David Roth, The New Republic, "Twilight of the Cop Consensus," 11 June 2020 Rob Corddry and Alicia Silverstone play Bob and Susan, a couple suffering from the anomie that afflicts adults whose income level used to afford them a lot more affluence and status. Glenn Kenny, New York Times, "‘Bad Therapy’ Review: A Twisted Therapist Sinks In Her Hooks," 16 Apr. 2020 The film turns on warring halves, a presumptive beta (Edward Norton) and his alpha twin (Pitt), who confront consumerism, postmodern anomie and that cult known as masculinity. Manohla Dargis, New York Times, "Brad Pitt and the Beauty Trap," 30 Jan. 2020 First, the subjects of deepest dread (corruption, decay, pollution, anomie, weakness) are identified with the disease. Ellen Mcgirt, Fortune, "Will Facebook ever learn?," 18 Mar. 2020 Cody distributes them awkwardly among the members of a strained family, painting a tableau of white suburban anomie that feints at depth but, throughout the show’s two and a half hours, is always threatening to dissolve. The New Yorker, "Women’s Worlds in “Jagged Little Pill” and “Fefu and Her Friends”," 9 Dec. 2019 Crew members were felled with intestinal ailments, and Gray had fallen into a dazed anomie. Nathan Heller, The New Yorker, "James Gray’s Journey from the Outer Boroughs to Outer Space," 9 Sep. 2019 In recent years, sound baths have made waves in meditation and therapeutic circles as antidotes to stress, depression, anomie, and more. Jennifer Emerling, National Geographic, "Seeking silence on a California road trip," 6 Aug. 2019 The culture gets bored when the talk turns to spiritual impoverishment, fraying familial bonds, anomie. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Millennial Who Rejects Hipness and Irony," 14 June 2019

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

1933, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for anomie

French anomie, from Middle French, from Greek anomia lawlessness, from anomos lawless, from a- + nomos law, from nemein to distribute — more at nimble

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Time Traveler for anomie

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The first known use of anomie was in 1933

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Cite this Entry

“Anomie.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for anomie


variants: also anomy \ ˈan-​ə-​mē How to pronounce anomy (audio) \

Medical Definition of anomie

: social instability resulting from a breakdown of standards and values also : personal unrest, alienation, and anxiety that comes from a lack of purpose or ideals

More from Merriam-Webster on anomie

Nglish: Translation of anomie for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about anomie

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