class·​ism | \ ˈkla-ˌsi-zəm How to pronounce classism (audio) \

Definition of classism

1 : a belief that a person's social or economic station in society determines their value in that society [Michael] Moore helped create the era of snark, but he also bore a lot of it, and much of the criticism of him carries a whiff of classism.— Jessica Pressler also : behavior that reflects this belief : prejudice or discrimination based on class … the show explores classism and white privilege by comparing how school administrators treat him, as a rich white boy from a family with Ivy League pedigree, versus how they treat Latina and working-class Moe. — Roxana Hadadi
2 : the systemic oppression of the lower class and middle class to the advantage of the upper class Further, this is one way to dismantle the power difference society's privileges grant us through such institutions as racism or classism— Sarah Lucia Hoagland

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Other Words from classism

classist \ ˈkla-​sist How to pronounce classism (audio) \ adjective

Examples of classism in a Sentence

a society plagued by racism and classism
Recent Examples on the Web Four years after World War I, seven years before the Great Depression, the novel is set at a time of great wealth and industry, classism and bigotry. Christine Brunkhorst Special To The Star Tribune, Star Tribune, "Review: 'Waterfall,' by Mary Casanova," 16 Apr. 2021 Is contributing to classism going to protect the babies of Black women? Aaliyah Miller,, "As A 20-Year-Old Black Woman, Why Is Private Healthcare My End Goal?," 29 Dec. 2020 Greenidge does a deft job navigating difficult conversations swirling in African diaspora communities around subjects such as colorism, classism, misogyny, and imperialism. Arielle Gray, The Christian Science Monitor, "‘Libertie’ imagines the whole of a Black girl’s self-determination," 1 Apr. 2021 Many of Hughes’ films took on classism and bullying and were brought to life by young actors like Molly Ringwald, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy and Emilio Estevez, who made names for themselves in those productions. Tribune News Service, cleveland, "‘Pretty in Pink’ director and John Hughes collaborator Howard Deutch talks about the film’s past, present and future," 24 Feb. 2021 It’s also about addiction, lucid dreaming, British classism, lies, and trauma. Kathryn Vanarendonk, Vulture, "Behind Her Eyes Is Trolling You," 17 Feb. 2021 There can be an inescapable sense of classism at play when some folks talk about tackiness. Marie Southard Ospina,, "Here’s Why Fat Babes Are Reclaiming “Tacky” Makeup," 26 Jan. 2021 Their belief that this surreal conspiracy has arisen because of the poor education of its adherents is based in classism, not reality. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, "The Democratic Party Has a Fatal Misunderstanding of the QAnon Phenomenon," 5 Feb. 2021 Though disguised as a gift for restaurant workers, their policy is actually a gross endorsement of greed and classism. Lila Maclellan, Quartz, "The “three-martini lunch” tax break sums up why so many people hate capitalism," 21 Dec. 2020

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

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for classism

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The first known use of classism was in 1842

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Statistics for classism

Last Updated

25 Apr 2021

Cite this Entry

“Classism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 11 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for classism



English Language Learners Definition of classism

: unfair treatment of people because of their social or economic class

Comments on classism

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