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 While others pile on advanced features for power users (or strip features away for minimalism mavens), Notes has exactly the features that most people need. Samuel Axon, Ars Technica, "iOS and iPadOS 14 review: iPhone transformation, iPad iteration," 28 Sep. 2020 The streamlined style is inspired by architect John Pawson, who is known for a sense of warm minimalism. Hadley Keller, House Beautiful, "How This Couple Designed a Townhouse to Rent—or Live In," 25 Sep. 2020 LeWitt is one of the founders of minimalism and conceptual art, and MoCA is hosting a vast survey of his wall drawings, wall after wall of funky form and color juxtapositions. Brian T. Allen, National Review, "Mass MoCA, the World’s Biggest Contemporary Art Museum, Looks Fantastic," 23 Sep. 2020 Home & Garden 572453022 Instead of stark minimalism, a comfier blend of new and old is taking hold in home decor. Katie Laughridge Tribune News Service, Star Tribune, "Call it grandmillenial: New design trend mixes old with the new," 18 Sep. 2020 Early images of the exterior suggest the structure is a departure from Apple's signature minimalism. Eamon Barrett, Fortune, "Apple’s ‘most ambitious’ new store is a departure from its signature design," 8 Sep. 2020 After going on hiatus in 2011, +J is returning this fall, bringing Sander’s unmatched minimalism to the masses at the most necessary time. Steff Yotka, Vogue, "Jil Sander, the Queen of Minimalism, is Restarting Her Collaboration with Uniqlo," 26 Aug. 2020 In the video above, Kate Albrecht and Joey Zehr tackle this-or-that questions, everything from if wallpaper is better than paint to minimalism versus maximalism. Amanda Garrity, Good Housekeeping, "The Duo Behind YouTube's Mr. Kate Answer Highly Debatable Design Questions," 21 Aug. 2020 But for now, at least, much of those baroque frills have given way to more restrained, easy-to-clean minimalism. Elizabeth Heath, Washington Post, "Amid coronavirus restrictions, can small inns and B&Bs retain their warm and cozy vibe?," 14 Aug. 2020

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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The first known use of minimalism was in 1927

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Last Updated

13 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Minimalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 24 Oct. 2020.

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