mod·​ern·​ism | \ ˈmä-dər-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce modernism (audio) \

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 \ ˈmä-​dər-​nist How to pronounce modernist (audio) \ noun or adjective
modernistic \ ˌmä-​dər-​ˈni-​stik How to pronounce modernistic (audio) \ adjective

Examples of modernism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Danto says that Warhol’s work, by disposing of modernism’s assertions that painting should be about the nature of painting, liberated it to go its own way, while the art critics stayed back in the schoolroom, arguing. Joan Acocella, The New Yorker, "Untangling Andy Warhol," 1 June 2020 As tuberculosis shaped modernism, so COVID-19 and our collective experience of staying inside for months on end will influence architecture’s near future. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, "How the Coronavirus Will Reshape Architecture," 17 June 2020 Alongside a project in southern France, this will count as the last work by Niemeyer, the progenitor of sensual architectural curves that complemented modernism’s unrelenting cubes. The Economist, "Living wills In the world of architecture, death is not always fatal," 13 June 2020 In his younger years, he was attracted to a severe modernism. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 2 Apr. 2020 The group began as almost exclusively white and male, and was averse to modernism and other new art forms. Washington Post, "Laurie Anderson among new arts academy inductees," 26 Feb. 2020 An observer referencing the cobwebbed terminology of modernism inspired Jeremiah’s mythical figures. Christopher Mosley, Dallas News, "‘Things Done Changed’ is artist David Jeremiah’s multifaceted take on race — and Dallas’ past," 22 Feb. 2020 Over a few years in Paris, Nadia Boulanger was his composition teacher as he was exposed to the jittery-fly modernism of Boulez and Stockhausen. Zachary Woolfe, New York Times, "Philip Glass Is Too Busy to Care About Legacy," 7 Nov. 2019 Full of whimsical, often violent contrasts in color and dynamics, Blake’s playing was an eccentric, fractured collage of twentieth-century modernism, Thelonious Monk, gospel, and film music. Adam Shatz, The New York Review of Books, "An Invitation from Jeanne Lee," 27 May 2020

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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Time Traveler for modernism

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The first known use of modernism was in 1737

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Last Updated

6 Jul 2020

Cite this Entry

“Modernism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 8 Aug. 2020.

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How to pronounce modernism (audio)

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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