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

Other Words from gradualism

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

Examples of gradualism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Tactically, a 75 basis-point increase would be a communication shift for Powell who has preferred to telegraph moves in advance and embrace gradualism. Molly Smith, Fortune, 13 June 2022 Who is being served by such gradualism, the shareholder or the customer? Dan Neil, WSJ, 20 Jan. 2022 But gradualism has given way to wariness in recent weeks, partly thanks to a new series of data points showing that inflation is still high and might stay elevated for some time. New York Times, 14 Dec. 2021 Their goal was the immediate end to slavery, not the tepid and undeniably racist gradualism of the American Colonization Society. Bennett Parten, The Conversation, 29 Sep. 2021 This is no time to engage in the luxury of cooling off or to take the tranquilizing drug of gradualism. Fox News, 27 Aug. 2013 After nearly five decades in Washington, Biden is an institutionalist, a political leader who believes in consensus and gradualism. Walter Shapiro, The New Republic, 17 Aug. 2020 Such conditions inevitably produce a recognition of the limits of gradualism among conservatives fed up with years of rearguard compromise who desire a proactive rather than an essentially defensive and recessional policy program. A. Wess Mitchell, National Review, 2 Apr. 2020 Such gradualism has not worked with North Korea in the past. The Economist, 4 July 2019 See More

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.

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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Last Updated

26 Jun 2022

Cite this Entry

“Gradualism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 29 Jun. 2022.

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