Definition of materialism
1a : a theory that physical matter is the only or fundamental reality and that all being and processes and phenomena can be explained as manifestations or results of matter (see 1matter 2) scientific materialismb : a doctrine that the only or the highest values or objectives lie in material well-being and in the furtherance of material progressc : a doctrine that economic or social change is materially caused — compare historical materialism
2 : a preoccupation with or stress upon material rather than intellectual or spiritual things materialism, hedonism, and the overriding quest for personal gratification — A. M. Schlesinger, Jr.
materialistplay \-list\ noun or adjective
materialisticplay \-ˌtir-ē-ə-ˈlis-tik\ adjective
materialisticallyplay \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples of materialism in a Sentence
the materialism of modern society
Recent Examples of materialism from the Web
This, in turn, breeds an almost fanatical materialism.
In West Germany, capitalism ruled and US-style consumerism flourished only a few years after the end of World War II, but materialism was frowned upon in the Communist East and consumer goods were scarce.
In West Germany, capitalism ruled and U.S.-style consumerism flourished only a few years after the end of World War II, but materialism was frowned upon in the Communist East and consumer goods were scarce.
In Mexico, the pope lip-synched his decades-old, anti-materialism, anti-capitalism medley even as his trip was underwritten by corporate sponsors, including Frito-Lay, Mercedes-Benz, Sheraton Hotels, and the Mexican bread company Bimbo.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'materialism'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
First Known Use of materialism
MATERIALISM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of materialism for English Language Learners
: a way of thinking that gives too much importance to material possessions rather than to spiritual or intellectual things
philosophy : the belief that only material things exist
Seen and Heard
What made you want to look up materialism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).