iso·​la·​tion·​ism | \ ˌī-sə-ˈlā-shə-ˌni-zəm also ˌi- How to pronounce isolationism (audio) \

Definition of isolationism

: a policy of national isolation by abstention from alliances and other international political and economic relations

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Other Words from isolationism

isolationist \ ˌī-​sə-​ˈlā-​sh(ə-​)nist How to pronounce isolationist (audio) also  ˌi-​ \ noun or adjective

Examples of isolationism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Bolton briefly considered running for president in 2016, in part to make the case against the isolationism that Trump would come to embody. Deb Riechmann, The Denver Post, "President Trump dismisses John Bolton, says they ‘disagreed strongly’," 10 Sep. 2019 Trump has approached the looming economic slowdown with a mix of isolationism and frenetic energy. Anchorage Daily News, "With the global economy slowing and the U.S.-China trade war escalating, Trump arrives at G-7 with a list of grievances," 24 Aug. 2019 Khanna's non-interventionist philosophy does not verge into isolationism. Grace Segers, CBS News, "What does a progressive foreign policy look like? Rep. Ro Khanna says he has the answer," 8 Aug. 2019 Spike Jonze’s movie ‘Her’ explores social isolationism in a world dominated by AI that can learn from us. Jevon Phillips, Los Angeles Times, "Meet the ‘Westworld’ panel moderator who showed Comic-Con how it’s done," 24 July 2019 With populism on the rise and the global system of trade and liberal democracy fraying, Ms. von der Leyen came across as passionately globalist, and rejected isolationism as unfit for Europe. New York Times, "First Woman Chosen for Top E.U. Job Wins Confirmation," 16 July 2019 That school of thought contributed to American isolationism and inaction as dangers gathered in Europe and Asia. Hal Brands, National Review, "Lessons from the Iraq War," 20 June 2019 The White House’s objective is not to retreat into isolationism, but rather to dismantle restraints on U.S. freedom of action and shift toward robust unilateralism. William A. Galston, WSJ, "Multilateralism May Survive Trump," 5 Feb. 2019 The human factor The fight to keep the Icelandic language in circulation should not be confused with isolationism. Caitlin Hu, Quartz, "Iceland is inventing a new vocabulary for a high-tech future," 2 June 2019

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

1919, in the meaning defined above

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Statistics for isolationism

Last Updated

30 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for isolationism

The first known use of isolationism was in 1919

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More Definitions for isolationism



English Language Learners Definition of isolationism

: the belief that a country should not be involved with other countries : a policy of not making agreements or working with other countries

More from Merriam-Webster on isolationism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with isolationism

Nglish: Translation of isolationism for Spanish Speakers

Comments on isolationism

What made you want to look up isolationism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to wander slowly or to speak indistinctly

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