con·​se·​quen·​tial·​ism | \ ˌkän(t)-sə-ˈkwen(t)-shə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce consequentialism (audio) \

Definition of consequentialism

: the theory that the value and especially the moral value of an act should be judged by the value of its consequences

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from consequentialism

consequentialist \ ˌkän(t)-​sə-​ˈkwen(t)-​shə-​ˌlist How to pronounce consequentialism (audio) \ adjective or noun

Examples of consequentialism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Moreover, while Robinson is willing to come right out and embrace judicial consequentialism, the entirety of the Democratic Caucus in the Senate is willing to do so implicitly. Isaac Schorr, National Review, "Amy Coney Barrett and Judicial Consequentialism," 29 Sep. 2020 In their pursuit of survival, men and women employ Machiavellian game theory and adopt a bleak consequentialism. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, "Liu Cixin’s War of the Worlds," 17 June 2019 In moral philosophy, this approach, distinct from virtue ethics, is called consequentialism. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, "Enough With the Trolley Problem," 30 Mar. 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'consequentialism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of consequentialism

1958, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about consequentialism

Time Traveler for consequentialism

Time Traveler

The first known use of consequentialism was in 1958

See more words from the same year

Statistics for consequentialism

Cite this Entry

“Consequentialism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on consequentialism Encyclopedia article about consequentialism

Comments on consequentialism

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


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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