in·​di·​vid·​u·​al·​ism | \ ˌin-də-ˈvij-wə-ˌli-zəm, -ˈvi-jə-wə- How to pronounce individualism (audio) , -ˈvi-jə-ˌli- \

Definition of individualism

1a(1) : a doctrine that the interests of the individual are or ought to be ethically paramount also : conduct guided by such a doctrine
(2) : the conception that all values, rights, and duties originate in individuals
b : a theory maintaining the political and economic independence of the individual and stressing individual initiative, action, and interests also : conduct or practice guided by such a theory
b : an individual peculiarity : idiosyncrasy

Examples of individualism in a Sentence

a society that believes strongly in individualism He was respected for his self-reliance and individualism.
Recent Examples on the Web But the clashing cultural responses to the pandemic underscore America's creed of individualism and broad suspicion of European-style collective responsibility. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 11 Jan. 2022 For them, libertarianism is synonymous with the laissez-faire approach to economics and morality that dominates Washington, D.C., and has permitted the twin cancers of hyper-individualism and secularism to metastasize through the culture. Sam Adler-bell, The New Republic, 3 Dec. 2021 Respect for individualism and our ability to come together as one diverse team gives us the energy, courage and discipline to fight for what matters. Expert Panel®, Forbes, 8 Nov. 2021 The researchers also looked for whether individualism and appreciation of collective behavior (both on an individual and societal level) influenced people's response. John Timmer, Ars Technica, 15 Apr. 2022 Making their own macramé owls was a convergence of environmentalism, individualism, and a romance for handmade items. Leanne Potts, Better Homes & Gardens, 18 Mar. 2022 The result of this visual exploration, commissioned by the Palais de Lomé, is a photographic series delving into histories, not only of hair but of intimacy, individualism, and generational dreams. Rica Cerbarano, Vogue, 2 Mar. 2022 But the past week has cast Rodgers’s individualism—and his posturing—in a new light. Louisa Thomas, The New Yorker, 11 Nov. 2021 The goal is to remake society into a collective, stripped of individualism and rife with reparations. Andrew Gutmann And Paul Rossi, WSJ, 11 Feb. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'individualism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of individualism

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1a(1)

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The first known use of individualism was in 1815

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Last Updated

7 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Individualism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 May. 2022.

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