dif·​fu·​sion·​ist di-ˈfyü-zhə-nəst How to pronounce diffusionist (audio)
: an anthropologist who emphasizes the role of diffusion in the history of culture rather than independent invention or discovery
diffusionism noun
diffusionist adjective

Example Sentences

Recent Examples on the Web Until relatively recently the spread of agriculture in Europe, and to some extent the whole world, was pigeon-holed into two maximalist models: cultural or demographic diffusionist. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 17 May 2011

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

Word History


diffusion + -ist entry 1, after earlier diffusionist, adjective, and diffusionism (probably after German Diffusionismus)

First Known Use

1920, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of diffusionist was in 1920

Dictionary Entries Near diffusionist

Cite this Entry

“Diffusionist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/diffusionist. Accessed 2 Feb. 2023.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Solve today's spelling word game by finding as many words as you can with using just 7 letters. Longer words score more points.

Can you make 12 words with 7 letters?