mod·ern·ism | \ˈmä-dər-ˌni-zəm \

Definition of modernism 

1 : a practice, usage, or expression peculiar to modern times such modernisms as "blog," "bromance," and "steampunk"

2 often capitalized : a tendency in theology to accommodate traditional religious teaching to contemporary thought and especially to devalue supernatural elements

3 : modern artistic or literary philosophy and practice especially : a self-conscious break with the past and a search for new forms of expression extols the … modernism that laid the foundation of all twentieth-century design — Jeffrey Simpson

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Other Words from modernism

modernist \-nist \ noun or adjective
modernistic \ˌmä-dər-ˈnis-tik \ adjective

Examples of modernism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

In his view Islamic fundamentalism was at war with both secularism and modernism, as embodied by the West. Douglas Martin,, "Bernard Lewis, 101, influential scholar of Islam," 22 May 2018 Alsop, who died after a short illness on May 12 at the age of 70, was known for designing buildings that featured an avant-garde modernism, emphasizing that architecture should be fun. Alex Bazeley, Curbed, "Playful shopping mall designed by Will Alsop to be built in Kenya," 10 July 2018 The exterior is a multicultural monument, expressing cultural diversity instead of concealing it beneath a cloak of orthodox neoclassicism or modernism. Blair Kamin,, "The national African-American museum still stirs the soul — and drops hints of what to expect at the Obama Presidential Center," 11 July 2018 These colors refer back to the era of high modernism, the 1960s and 1970s. Nadja Sayej, Teen Vogue, "Artist Sara Cwynar on Perceptions of Beauty," 26 June 2018 Philadelphia artists as a group often feel a bit marginalized by the Art Museum, but this show makes an impressive case for Philadelphia modernism, including such artists as Arthur B. Carles, Benton Spruance, and the brilliant Morton Schamberg. Thomas Hine,, "Art Museum show gives American Modernists - and Philly ones - new respect," 12 Apr. 2018 Adjaye, who collaborated on the project with the Freelon Group, Davis Brody Bond and SmithGroupJJR, practices a different kind of modernism than the abstract steel-and-glass boxes of Ludwig Mies van der Rohe. Blair Kamin,, "The national African-American museum still stirs the soul — and drops hints of what to expect at the Obama Presidential Center," 11 July 2018 Eric Trine of Amigo Modern specializes in bringing the spirit of American modernism into the 21st century. Madeleine Luckel, Vogue, "16 of the Most Innovative Furniture Designers Who Manufacture in the U.S.," 4 July 2018 For the first time in 30 years, Gerry and Marguerite Lenfest’s gift of 27 significant works of modernism created by artists from the region will be shown together in the same gallery. Stephan Salisbury,, "What to see in Philadelphia's museums this summer," 6 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'modernism.' 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 modernism

1737, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

19 Oct 2018

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The first known use of modernism was in 1737

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English Language Learners Definition of modernism

: a style of art, architecture, literature, etc., that uses ideas and methods which are very different from those used in the past

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one that holds something together

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