grad·​u·​al·​ism | \ ˈgra-jə-wə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce gradualism (audio) , -jə-ˌli- \

Definition of gradualism

1 : the policy of approaching a desired end by gradual stages
2 : the evolution of new species by gradual accumulation of small genetic changes over long periods of time also : a theory or model of evolution emphasizing this — compare punctuated equilibrium

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Other Words from gradualism

gradualist \ ˈgra-​jə-​wə-​list How to pronounce gradualist (audio) , -​jə-​list \ noun or adjective
gradualistic \ ˌgra-​jə(-​wə)-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce gradualistic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of gradualism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Such gradualism has not worked with North Korea in the past. The Economist, "Who would dare to speak for Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump?," 4 July 2019 Burke’s focus on the social character of man, from Burke’s thoroughgoing gradualism, and from his innovative liberal alternative to Enlightenment radicalism. Ramesh Ponnuru, National Review, "The Right Liberalism," 11 July 2019 Waymo's solution to the safety-verification problem has been extreme gradualism. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Intel’s Mobileye wants to dominate driverless cars—but there’s a problem," 21 May 2018 The president has instead opted for gradualism, which is a code word for soft-pedaling the sad facts. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, "The Argentine Peso’s Death Spiral," 13 May 2018 More recently, however, Macri’s gradualism and dependence on international markets to help finance this transition have run into rising interest rates in the United States. The Christian Science Monitor, "Argentina’s cry for help: How the world can respond," 16 May 2018 Waymo realized that the key to making this work was a different kind of gradualism: fielding a taxi service that initially would only work on a limited number of streets and weather conditions. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "People who paid Tesla $3,000 for full self-driving might be out of luck," 17 Apr. 2018 Mr Macri’s bet on economic gradualism could also be derailed. The Economist, "Mauricio Macri fights Argentina’s tradition of handouts for votes," 22 Mar. 2018 Although orthodox economists grumble about Mr Macri’s gradualism, Argentine investors seem to endorse it. The Economist, "Argentina’s gamble on economic gradualism is working, so far," 18 Jan. 2018

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

1835, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of gradualism was in 1835

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Cite this Entry

“Gradualism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 22 Feb. 2020.

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with gradualism Encyclopedia article about gradualism

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