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

Keep scrolling for more

Keep scrolling for more

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 an early documented use of meliorism; however, there is evidence that meliorist had been around decades 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 or more tolerable") that was introduced to English in the 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, 6 Dec. 2020 To its critics, this modesty and meliorism represent cowardice. Rosa Inocencio Smith, 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.

Keep scrolling for more

First Known Use of meliorism

1877, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About meliorism

Time Traveler for meliorism

Time Traveler

The first known use of meliorism was in 1877

See more words from the same year

Listen to Our Podcast About meliorism

Dictionary Entries Near meliorism

meliorem lapsa locavit



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for meliorism

Cite this Entry

“Meliorism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 May. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on meliorism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for meliorism


Test Your Vocabulary

Name That Color

  • a light greenish blue color
  • Name that color:
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!