clas·​si·​cism | \ˈkla-sə-ˌsi-zəm \

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

The wide selection of Nadelman items alone — perhaps the peak of Kirstein’s often erratic taste in the visual arts — is worth the visit to this gathering: modernism meets primitivism meets classicism. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "Review: ‘Transmissions’ Evokes a Climate (Poetic, With a Chance of Ballet)," 26 Mar. 2018 Kalmar and friends did a slam-bang job of it before turning to the charming and gracious classicism of Haydn’s Symphony No. John Von Rhein,, "Grant Park Music Festival opens with a choral blockbuster under friendly skies," 14 June 2018 Kruger, representing the United States at an international art festival in the middle of the violent administration of George W. Bush, underscored the stripped classicism of the 1932 building — an architectural emblem of the era’s fascist rule. Christopher Knight,, "Artist Barbara Kruger turns a bland building into a screaming statement. Time to listen up," 14 June 2018 The mysterious Anthony Huxley still varies, perplexingly, between being too guarded and being classicism inflamed. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "New York City Ballet Is in Limbo, but in Bloom," 31 May 2018 Poppe brought a pleasant classicism to this season of Idol. Morgan Enos, Billboard, "'American Idol' Winner Maddie Poppe's 6 Best Performances," 22 May 2018 The line was also a good bridge between the ideal of British classicism and my own brand., "Finally, J.W.Anderson's Second Uniqlo Collaboration Is Here," 20 Mar. 2018 He was admired for his crisp, elegant classicism, which contrasted with the boiling energy and spectacular action usually associated with the baroque style. Steven Litt,, "Cleveland Museum of Art acquires Italian portrait, African sculptures, Weston photos (photos)," 14 Mar. 2018 The young Canadian’s deep and opulent voice straddles the line between the elegant classicism of Sade, and the operatic modernity of Rhye’s Mike Milosh. Adrian Spinelli, San Francisco Chronicle, "Wilson ‘broke down and cried’ hearing her latest EP," 14 Mar. 2018

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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18 Sep 2018

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The first known use of classicism was in 1827

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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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