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

While the magazine was supportive of efforts to nominate conservatives to the Supreme Court and cut taxes, the magazine never embraced Trumpism’s trade priorities or purported isolationism, and decidedly never embraced Trump himself. Jane Coaston, Vox, "What the Weekly Standard meant to conservatism," 14 Dec. 2018 Macron wants Europe to lead the way toward more multilateralism, as opposed to isolationism, to address the worlds' challenges like migration, climate change, digital transformation and inequalities. Sylvie Corbet, Fox News, "How Macron won Trump's friendship, failed to influence him," 31 Aug. 2018 But then the phrase gets taken up in the name of isolationism almost instantly, and it is quickly connected with other ideas that were also on the rise at the time, especially the rise of the Ku Klux Klan. Sean Illing, Vox, "How “America First” ruined the “American dream”," 22 Oct. 2018 And then there is the risk factor of isolationism and xenophobia. Ron Klain, Vox, "A pandemic killing tens of millions of people is a real possibility — and we are not prepared for it," 15 Oct. 2018 But the power of Willkie’s arguments forced the Republican Party away from isolationism, and the Willkie movement shamed Roosevelt into softening his anti-business stance. Amity Shlaes, WSJ, "‘The Improbable Wendell Willkie’ Review: The Great Disruptor," 13 Sep. 2018 This belief caused him in his final years to resist the drift in his own party toward isolationism. The Editorial Board, WSJ, "A Salute to John McCain," 26 Aug. 2018 Like Joffer searching for love, T'Challa must decide whether to end centuries of isolationism and reveal his country's technological marvels to the world. Matthew Wilson, USA TODAY, "How 'Coming To America' paved the way for 'Black Panther' 30 years ago," 29 June 2018 Earlier this year, the president wanted to use Syria as a prop for performing his isolationism, and therefore called on his advisers to plan an immediate withdrawal of all U.S. troops from that country. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trumpism Is Having Its Best Week Ever," 10 May 2018

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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Last Updated

4 Mar 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).


grandiloquent, ostentatious, or bombastic

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