minimalism

noun
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

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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

Perhaps the obviousness of the 2000s and the minimalism of the early 2010s had, too. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "How the Great Recession influenced a decade of design," 27 Dec. 2018 Since its birth by the man himself, Calvin Klein’s ready-to-wear has come to represent a slice of American lifestyle defined by chic, effortless minimalism. Brooke Bobb, Vogue, "Calvin Klein Is Moving Into the Future Without a Runway Collection—But Likely More Underwear-Clad Kardashians," 7 Mar. 2019 Furniture is usually oversized (minimalism is not the word, here), and is designed to feel cozy, easy, and comfortable. Sienna Fantozzi, House Beautiful, "Everything You Need To Know About Rustic Design," 26 Oct. 2018 The minimalism is one of the things that keeps the SureFly under 800kg (1,700 lbs)—which in turn allows up to 180kg (400 lbs) of payload, whether that's people or baggage. John Timmer, Ars Technica, "Workhorse brings an electric pickup truck, helicopter to Manhattan," 19 Aug. 2018 Despite Lumines’ audiovisual pyrotechnics, minimalism was a key principle from the beginning of its gameplay design. Sam Byford, The Verge, "Tetsuya Mizuguchi on the creation of puzzle classic Lumines and its new remaster," 13 July 2018 For her wedding day, Markle clung to her signature minimalism, choosing a low-slung bun with a part in the middle and the sides pushed back. Wendy Sy, Allure, "Happy Birthday, Duchess: See Meghan Markle’s Hair Evolution Through the Years," 4 Aug. 2018 The museum has put together a retrospective dedicated to the Southern California finish/fetish artist who has explored color, form and minimalism in a career that has spanned more than six decades. Carolina A. Miranda, latimes.com, "Datebook: Baskets inspired by math, iconic Los Angeles images and photos of people getting expressive," 24 May 2018 What keeps the style from straying into industrial minimalism are the soft lines and curves of the furniture. Maggie Burch, House Beautiful, "French Provincial Design Has Always Set the Bar For Casual Elegance," 11 Jan. 2019

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.

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First Known Use of minimalism

1927, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

13 Apr 2019

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Time Traveler for minimalism

The first known use of minimalism was in 1927

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with minimalism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about minimalism

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