na·​tion·​al·​ism | \ ˈnash-nə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce nationalism (audio) , ˈna-shə-nə-ˌli-zəm\

Definition of nationalism

1 : loyalty and devotion to a nation especially : a sense of national consciousness (see consciousness sense 1c) exalting one nation above all others and placing primary emphasis on promotion of its culture and interests as opposed to those of other nations or supranational groups Intense nationalism was one of the causes of the war.
2 : a nationalist movement or government opposing nationalisms

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The Difference Between Nationalism, Patriotism, Sectionalism, and Jingoism

Nationalism has a number of near-synonyms, each of which carries its own distinct meaning. Patriotism is similar insofar as it emphasizes strong feelings for one’s country, but it does not necessarily imply an attitude of superiority. Sectionalism resembles nationalism in its suggestion of a geopolitical group pursuing its self-interest, but the group in question is usually smaller than an entire nation. Jingoism closely resembles nationalism in suggesting feelings of cultural superiority, but unlike nationalism, it always implies military aggressiveness.

Examples of nationalism in a Sentence

The war was caused by nationalism and greed. Nazism's almost epic nationalism appealed to downtrodden Germans still suffering the humiliation of being defeated in World War I.

Recent Examples on the Web

Photo Illustration by Ioannis Alexopoulos/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty Images Facebook’s ban on white nationalism doesn’t go far enough. Kat Borgerding, Vox, "Recode Daily: Facebook’s auditors say the platform’s white supremacy ban is too narrow," 2 July 2019 The second, more consequential development is that Facebook is extending its ban on speech promoting white nationalism. Casey Newton, The Verge, "A Facebook civil rights audit could have unintended consequences," 2 July 2019 Facebook has been widely criticized for allowing trolling and misinformation on its sites in the lead-up to the 2016 elections, with various actors using the platform to target vulnerable populations, discourage voting and stir white nationalism. Irina Ivanova, CBS News, "Facebook details efforts to prepare for 2020 elections, Census disinformation," 1 July 2019 There will be fewer middle-class apologies for patriotism and nationalism. Victor Davis Hanson, The Mercury News, "Hanson: Why are Western middle classes revolting against the elites?," 13 June 2019 There will be fewer middle-class apologies for patriotism and nationalism. Victor Davis Hanson, National Review, "Why Are the Western Middle Classes So Angry?," 13 June 2019 Be for populism without the bitterness, and patriotism minus mindless nationalism. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Republicans Need Artists, Not Economists," 12 Apr. 2018 Abiy’s ascent to power was fuelled by rising nationalism among his own ethnic group, the Oromo. The Economist, "Killings and claims of an attempted coup rock Ethiopia," 25 June 2019 The proposal comes amid a broader tightening of controls across China under President Xi Jinping, who came to power in 2012 and whose tenure has been marked by rising nationalism and intolerance of dissent. Laignee Barron / Hong Kong, Time, "Why Hong Kong Protesters Aren't Calling It Quits After the Suspension of a Controversial Extradition Bill," 19 June 2019

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

1798, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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More Definitions for nationalism



English Language Learners Definition of nationalism

: a feeling that people have of being loyal to and proud of their country often with the belief that it is better and more important than other countries
: a desire by a large group of people (such as people who share the same culture, history, language, etc.) to form a separate and independent nation of their own


na·​tion·​al·​ism | \ ˈna-shə-nə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce nationalism (audio) \

Kids Definition of nationalism

: devotion to the interests of a certain country and belief that it is better and more important than other countries

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Comments on nationalism

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