min·​i·​mal·​ism ˈmi-nə-mə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce minimalism (audio)
: a style or technique (as in music, literature, or design) that is characterized by extreme spareness and simplicity

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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 So here’s hoping that the minimalism and ease of this dish will set the tone for the year to come, bringing with it nourishment and peace. Olga Massov, Washington Post, 9 Sep. 2023 After Project Runway, Kameyama kick-started his new eponymous brand espousing the ways of minimalism. Henry Chandonnet, Peoplemag, 8 Sep. 2023 These over-the-top moments were balanced by fresh visions of Scandi minimalism at Skall Studio and Mark Kenly Domino Tan. Halie Lesavage, Harper's BAZAAR, 15 Aug. 2023 Brice Marden, whose elegant fusion of minimalism and Abstract Expressionism in the 1960s revivified painting and established him as one of the most admired and influential artists of his generation, died on Thursday at his home in Tivoli, N.Y., in Dutchess County. William Grimes, New York Times, 11 Aug. 2023 Opening the New York City outpost in 1983, Nick commands every room in outfits of effortless minimalism, his shirts rakishly open at the neck. Fawnia Soo Hoo, The Hollywood Reporter, 9 Aug. 2023 Call it quiet luxury, minimalism, or capsule-wardrobe dressing, this trend dominated not only the spring/summer runways but our shopping carts too. Laura Jackson, Vogue, 2 Aug. 2023 The Sinta Quartet of four saxophones opens up the 2023 Cape Cod Chamber Music Festival with a free concert that juxtaposes funk, folk, and minimalism with Beethoven and Bach. Globe Staff,, 19 July 2023 Kendall Jenner and Bad Bunny are fashion trendsetters in their own right: Jenner’s wardrobe is all about luxe minimalism, while Bad Bunny favors a bolder, brighter sensibility. Christian Allaire, Vogue, 14 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'minimalism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use

1927, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of minimalism was in 1927

Dictionary Entries Near minimalism

Cite this Entry

“Minimalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2023.

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