clas·​si·​cism | \ ˈkla-sə-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce classicism (audio) \

Definition of classicism

1a : the principles or style embodied in the literature, art, or architecture of ancient Greece and Rome
b : classical scholarship
c : a classical idiom or expression
2 : adherence to traditional standards (as of simplicity, restraint, and proportion) that are universally and enduringly valid

Examples of classicism in a Sentence

a return to classicism in modern architecture the classicism of the building
Recent Examples on the Web And your current design crush So many! David Netto is such a master at striking a balance between classicism and modern sensibility. Hadley Mendelsohn, House Beautiful, "Laura Stanley and Lizzie Bailey of New York and Bozeman, Montana-Based Story Street Studio Began Their Careers at Design Magazines," 19 Feb. 2021 Dan White gunned down Mayor George Moscone and Supervisor Harvey Milk in San Francisco City Hall, an aspirational masterpiece of Beaux Arts classicism if ever there was one. John King,, "Trump says classical buildings ‘encourage civic virtue,’ but his mob ransacked the classical U.S. Capitol with glee," 7 Jan. 2021 Born 100 years ago, the pianist and composer found immense success melding musical classicism with polyrhythmic experiment. John Edward Hasse, WSJ, "Dave Brubeck, Beyond ‘Take Five’," 29 Nov. 2020 And while many brands forgo their DNA to nod to the tradition and classicism of designing for the aisle, Chemla stuck to her roots, transforming her signature silhouettes and techniques into elevated, customizable options for the bride-to-be. Carrie Goldberg, Harper's BAZAAR, "Just In: Alison Lou Is Launching a Bridal Collection," 2 Dec. 2020 The turn of the 19th century was a yeasty period in musical styles, as classicism expanded its expressive range. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "Dallas Bach Society ventures beyond baroque, to Beethoven," 16 Nov. 2020 For some White households, this conspicuous classicism was put on display in yet another way: in the identities of human beings the families claimed as chattel. Charles King, Washington Post, "Noble virtues, bad history: How Greece and Rome influenced America’s founders," 6 Nov. 2020 As the co-creative director, along with her father, Andrea, of Buccellati, the storied Italian jewelry house, Lucrezia Buccellati understands how to balance contemporary ideas with timeless classicism. Vanessa Lawrence, ELLE Decor, "An Italian Jewelry Designer Finds Peace at Home with This Gorgeous Candle," 10 Apr. 2020 In a sense, classicism has become the Esperanto of American architecture. Anne Quito, Quartz, "What is classical architecture? It’s not exactly what the Trump administration thinks it is," 19 Feb. 2020

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

1827, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of classicism was in 1827

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Last Updated

26 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Classicism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 3 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of classicism

: the ideas and styles that are common in the literature, art, and architecture of ancient Greece and Rome
: a traditional style of art, literature, music, architecture, etc., that is usually graceful and simple with parts that are organized in a pleasing way

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