min·​i·​mal·​ism | \ ˈmi-nə-mə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce minimalism (audio) \

Definition of minimalism

1 : a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity

Did you know?

In the 1960s, a few composers, including Philip Glass, Steve Reich, and John Adams, began writing music inspired by the music of India and Southeast Asia, often with a quick pulsing beat and chords that are repeated quickly over and over while small changes are slowly introduced. Minimalist art, which began appearing around the same time, tries to strip away all personal elements, often leaving only pure geometric forms; you may have seen the plain silver boxes of Donald Judd, or the straight neon tubes of Bruce Nauman. In literature, the stripped-down fiction of Samuel Beckett and Raymond Carver is often considered minimalist. But there's a real question whether these various types of minimalism should even be considered the same concept.

Examples of minimalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The Samsung Galaxy Tab S6 Lite ($350 and up) is one of the best lightweight tablets for users who want productivity, entertainment and minimalism in one device. Danielle Directo-meston, The Hollywood Reporter, 6 Apr. 2022 Blending together traditional Sufi Muslim and Hidustani classical sounds with folk, jazz and minimalism, many critics credit the artist with pioneering a new genre, a merging of two worlds. NBC News, 5 Apr. 2022 Slated to open in September 2022, the hotel's 242 rooms will blend traditional Nordic design -- clean lines and chic minimalism -- with pops of color and art deco accents such as sculptural lighting and curved paneling. Kris Fordham, CNN, 3 Jan. 2022 As the 1970s approached, her work, which had always defied easy categorization with its clunky, folksy shapes and farce, seemed even further from the styles du juor, which leaned toward minimalism and conceptual art. Grace Edquist, Vogue, 14 Apr. 2022 The material is casual jersey, but the dress's sculptural cuts and elongating silhouette showcase what Victoria, as a designer, is praised for: minimalism and timeless elegance. Rosa Sanchez, Harper's BAZAAR, 12 Apr. 2022 Having traded the ethos of minimalism and hyper-local sourcing for a better work-life balance, Sohocki’s dream has been reimagined to fit this moment in time. Mike Sutter, San Antonio Express-News, 7 Apr. 2022 The goal was to design an all-around training shoe that would feel comfortable at faster paces—balancing lightweight minimalism and cushioning, and enabling athletes to maintain maximum effort throughout a training cycle. Outside Online, 18 Mar. 2022 Another section displays materials about how Asian Americans in the fashion industry have promoted sustainability, innovation, minimalism and generational connections. NBC News, 10 Mar. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of minimalism

1927, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About minimalism

Time Traveler for minimalism

Time Traveler

The first known use of minimalism was in 1927

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near minimalism

minimal brain dysfunction



See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for minimalism

Last Updated

11 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Minimalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 17 May. 2022.

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

More from Merriam-Webster on minimalism

Thesaurus: All synonyms and antonyms for minimalism Encyclopedia article about minimalism


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!