grad·​u·​al·​ism | \ˈgra-jə-wə-ˌli-zəm, -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 , -​jə-​list \ noun or adjective
gradualistic \ ˌgra-​jə(-​wə)-​ˈli-​stik \ adjective

Examples of gradualism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

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 The centre’s commitment to gradualism, pluralism and rationality are no match for populists’ simplistic emotional appeals. The Economist, "BelloThe appeal of Macronismo in Latin America," 7 Sep. 2017 This strategy allows Google—now Waymo—to pursue a different kind of gradualism. Timothy B. Lee, Ars Technica, "Waymo makes history testing on public roads with no one at the wheel," 7 Nov. 2017 Investors and the Federal Reserve may have grown too comfortable with gradualism — raising interest rates at a pace that is not too fast, not too slow, but just right. Craig Torres,, "Fed Plan for Gradual Rate Hikes Is Starting to Look Complacent," 11 May 2017

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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