historical materialism

noun

: the Marxist theory of history and society that holds that ideas and social institutions develop only as the superstructure of a material economic base compare dialectical materialism

Examples of historical materialism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Marxist concepts like class conflict and historical materialism were comparatively unfashionable, even (many thought) dangerous. Kate Aronoff, The New Republic, 24 Mar. 2023 So, for example, his view of historical materialism means that there’s an inevitable rise of the East and the decline of the West. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, 22 July 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'historical materialism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1925, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of historical materialism was in 1925

Dictionary Entries Near historical materialism

Cite this Entry

“Historical materialism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/historical%20materialism. Accessed 4 Mar. 2024.

More from Merriam-Webster on historical materialism

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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