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

Early pieces in the show are rooted in earthy craft traditions or varieties of impassive, stripped-back modernism. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "What makes a great art school? Haystack has the elusive answer.," 24 July 2019 After that, almost everything was from the 21st century, but even classical music fans who disdain modernism could surely embrace the beauty of these works. Rob Hubbard, Twin Cities, "Review: Summer Singers may have the hope and harmony you need," 21 July 2019 That pattern produced thrills of novelty when Szeemann, like many brilliant artists of his halcyon moment, introduced it to pronounce an epochal abandonment of modernism’s mythology of progress. Peter Schjeldahl, The New Yorker, "Harald Szeemann’s Revolutionary Curating," 15 July 2019 The location is apt, since the pizzeria positions itself at several crossroads: between old-line neighborhood joint and affluent date-night destination, between Italian American comfort and Los Angeles glamour, between pizza orthodoxy and modernism. Bill Addison,, "6 great pizza places in Los Angeles," 13 July 2019 How fantastic: a week devoted to modernism in Denver architecture. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, "Letters: Target the employers in raids; Toni Morrison’s brilliance; Perfecting and weaponizing prejudice; Grateful architecture fan(8/12/19)," 12 Aug. 2019 Lew tells Curbed that the recent interest in postmodern design of the late ’70s and ’80s—which had an anything-goes attitude and rebuked the austerity and rigidity of modernism before it—influenced today’s explorations of oversized proportions. Diana Budds, Curbed, "Cute furniture is a reprieve from our age of anxiety," 7 Aug. 2019 Visual and narrative complexity is a way of keeping the uninitiated out and also a way to diverge dramatically from the tendency in much of modernism toward reductive art-making with radically simple forms. Dallas News, "Texas artist Trenton Doyle Hancock builds a world in massive exhibition space," 19 July 2019 Aristocratic in his bearing, a former colonel in the Horse Guards, an avid proponent of modernism, Teliakovsky was convinced that Petipa had long outlived his usefulness. John Check, WSJ, "‘Marius Petipa’ Review: The Imperial Ballet Master," 28 June 2019

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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5 Oct 2019

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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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Nglish: Translation of modernism for Spanish Speakers Encyclopedia article about modernism

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