me·​lio·​rism | \ ˈmēl-yə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce meliorism (audio) , ˈmē-lē-ə- \

Definition of meliorism

: the belief that the world tends to improve and that humans can aid its betterment

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Other Words from meliorism

meliorist \ ˈmēl-​yə-​rist How to pronounce meliorism (audio) , ˈmē-​lē-​ə-​ \ adjective or noun
melioristic \ ˌmēl-​yə-​ˈri-​stik How to pronounce meliorism (audio) , ˌmē-​lē-​ə-​ \ adjective

Did You Know?

In 1877, British novelist George Eliot believed she had coined meliorist when she wrote, "I don't know that I ever heard anybody use the word 'meliorist' except myself." Her contemporaries credited her with coining both meliorist and meliorism, and one of her letters contains the first documented use of meliorism, but there is evidence that meliorist had been around for 40 years or so before she started using it. Whoever coined it did so by drawing on the Latin melior, meaning "better." It is likely that the English coinages were also influenced by another melior descendant, meliorate, a synonym of ameliorate ("to make better") that was introduced to English in the mid-1500s.

Examples of meliorism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Goodhart reckons the positional nature of status — man’s envy plays a part in this puzzle, mind you — and the kind of economic meliorism that the center-left of his formative years applies to income inequality may fail to do the trick this time. Jorge González-gallarza Hernández, National Review, "David Goodhart, Up from the Cognitive Meritocracy," 6 Dec. 2020 To its critics, this modesty and meliorism represent cowardice. Rosa Inocencio Smith, The Atlantic, "The Atlantic," 10 Aug. 2017

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

First Known Use of meliorism

1877, in the meaning defined above

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Cite this Entry

“Meliorism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 5 Mar. 2021.

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