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

Think of the ’90s minimalism that followed ’80s rock glamour—or the early aughts ultra low-rise-denim obsession that gave way to a high-rise resurgence. Glamour, "Ready or Not: You’re Going to See a Lot of Clogs This Fall," 22 Aug. 2019 There's a patch of bubbly minimalism, and a couple of places sound a little like celebratory Copland. Scott Cantrell, Dallas News, "A fairy-tale world premiere and Janácek's brutal but redemptive 'Jenufa' impress at Santa Fe Opera," 6 Aug. 2019 Responses to minimalism included the 1970s Pattern & Decoration movement, led by artists including Miriam Schapiro, Joyce Kozloff, Robert Kushner, and Valerie Jaudon., "Things to do in Greater Boston this summer," 1 July 2018 Spotted in California yesterday, the designer hit the movies with friends in an anti-summer fit that was all about slouchy minimalism. Christian Allaire, Vogue, "Ashley Olsen Is Breaking All the Summer Style Rules," 30 July 2019 Strandloper is one of our favorite little finds in South Africa: an airy seaside escape that exudes beachy minimalism in the form of white linens, pale woods, animal hide rugs, and furniture. Sarah Khan, Condé Nast Traveler, "3 Best Day Trips From Cape Town," 14 Sep. 2018 The idea is very: A skate rat from the mid-’90s has grown up and lovingly embraced minimalism. Carla Guler, Harper's BAZAAR, "The 8 Fall Trends to Shop Now," 14 Aug. 2019 But the minimalism movement is also gaining momentum, as evidenced by the popularity of TV shows such as Tidying Up with Marie Kondo. Christopher Elliott, USA TODAY, "The newest carry-on bags do more with less room: How to get all your gear in a smaller bag," 2 Aug. 2019 With these decorative conventions etched in my consciousness, Les Bords’s urbane minimalism jolted me right out of my Provençal stupor. Alexander Lobrano, WSJ, "The New Provence: From Quaint to Uber-Chic," 11 July 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

14 Sep 2019

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Time Traveler for minimalism

The first known use of minimalism was in 1927

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More from Merriam-Webster on minimalism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with minimalism Encyclopedia article about minimalism

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one from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

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