ex·​cep·​tion·​al·​ism | \ ik-ˈsep-shnə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce exceptionalism (audio) , -shə-nə- \

Definition of exceptionalism

: the condition of being different from the norm also : a theory expounding the exceptionalism especially of a nation or region

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Other Words from exceptionalism

exceptionalist \ ik-​ˈsep-​shnə-​list How to pronounce exceptionalism (audio) , -​shə-​nə-​ \ adjective

Examples of exceptionalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The hubris of American exceptionalism — a myth of global superiority laid bare in America’s pandemic death toll — is what got us here. New York Times, "How the United States Lost to Hackers," 4 Feb. 2021 American exceptionalism is not a guarantee that [democracy] will last forever. George Skelton And Los Angeles Times (tns), Star Tribune, "American exceptionalism is a myth," 11 Jan. 2021 In that regard, American exceptionalism is misplaced. Star Tribune, "Unrest helps foes only if U.S. fails to heal," 11 Jan. 2021 What could the old, quite dangerous myths about American exceptionalism mean after this? James Carroll, The New Yorker, "What the Era of Trump and the Coronavirus May Teach America’s Children," 21 Dec. 2020 He has been raised by parents and a school system steeped in the myths of American exceptionalism. Amir-hussein Radjy, The New Republic, "A Novelist’s Reckoning With Identity Politics," 6 Jan. 2021 This is forcing a profound reckoning with the limits of free will, American exceptionalism and technological utopianism—in short, with human powerlessness in the face of death. Katy Butler, WSJ, "Covid Is Reshaping Death. And Maybe Life.," 16 Dec. 2020 American exceptionalism has underpinned this country’s experiment in outer space since its beginnings; the Apollo astronauts launched toward the moon in the name of national glory, not pure scientific discovery. Marina Koren, The Atlantic, "The Language of Space Exploration Is Stuck in the 1800s," 17 Sep. 2020 Perhaps this should come as little surprise from Greengrass, a British filmmaker who specializes in urgent dispatches from the here and now, and who has often subjected the myth of American exceptionalism to critical, dispassionate scrutiny. Justin Chang Film Critic, Los Angeles Times, "Review: ‘News of the World,’ Paul Greengrass’ odd-couple western, is an admirable but bumpy ride," 11 Dec. 2020

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

1929, in the meaning defined above

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Time Traveler for exceptionalism

Time Traveler

The first known use of exceptionalism was in 1929

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Statistics for exceptionalism

Last Updated

15 Feb 2021

Cite this Entry

“Exceptionalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/exceptionalism. Accessed 2 Mar. 2021.

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