mor·al·ism | \ˈmȯr-ə-ˌli-zəm, ˈmär-\

Definition of moralism 

1a : the habit or practice of moralizing

b : a conventional moral attitude or saying

2 : an often exaggerated emphasis on morality (as in politics)

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of moralism in a Sentence

the moralism that the candidate displays on the campaign trail is in stark contrast to his rumored sexual indiscretions off the stump

Recent Examples on the Web

When motivating moralism is paired with a pragmatic understanding of the way a system works, there’s the potential for truly positive change. Aaron Gilbreath, Longreads, "Farming A Warming Planet: An Interview Nathanael Johnson," 31 May 2018 Rogers’s apparent lack of embarrassment and shame about feelings was part of what separated Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood from the frenzied, skin-deep moralism of most children’s programming at the time. Heather Havrilesky, The Cut, "Why Did We Ever Leave Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood?," 31 May 2018 For the readers of the future, the books will always be there like sticks of dynamite, ready to blow up complacency and moralism. Adam Kirsch, The Atlantic, "Remembering Philip Roth, a Giant of American Literature," 23 May 2018 But, nevertheless, and in keeping with longstanding NCAA tradition, the concept of the Vacated is both a crime against history and an extended exercise in hilarious tinpot moralism. Charles P. Pierce,, "It's Time for the NCAA to Reinstate the Vacated Teams to College Basketball's Record Books," 1 Apr. 2018 Quotes like these make clear that Tapper is simultaneously an innovator and a throwback of sorts: tough but fair, aggressively non-partisan, and determined to separate fact from fiction, all with a healthy whiff of moralism. Graham Vyse, The New Republic, "Why (Almost) Everyone Likes Jake Tapper," 9 Mar. 2018 Noise-abatement laws transformed an objective concern about environmental and health conditions into a subjective fight over aesthetic moralism. Kate Wagner, The Atlantic, "City Noise Might Be Making You Sick," 20 Feb. 2018 Tribalism and moralism can reinforce each other, too. Fred Bauer, National Review, "How to Renew Our Civic Culture," 20 Oct. 2017 Other defenders will protest that Aronofsky’s vision of ugliness and despair goes back to Hieronymous Bosch and beyond, joining a long tradition of purposefully lurid apocalyptic tales backed by a stern moralism — repent, ye sinners. Kyle Smith, National Review, "Jennifer Lawrence’s Grotesque Spoof of the Nativity," 14 Sep. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'moralism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of moralism

1674, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about moralism

Statistics for moralism

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for moralism

The first known use of moralism was in 1674

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on moralism

What made you want to look up moralism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


one that holds something together

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Roman Mythology Quiz

  • the-triumph-of-venus-by-alessandro-magnasco
  • Boreal comes from the name of the ancient Greek god of which wind?
Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!