nat·​u·​ral·​ism | \ ˈna-chə-rə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce naturalism (audio) , ˈnach-rə-\

Definition of naturalism

1 : action, inclination, or thought based only on natural desires and instincts
2 : a theory denying that an event or object has a supernatural significance specifically : the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena
3 : realism in art or literature specifically : a theory or practice in literature emphasizing scientific observation of life without idealization and often including elements of determinism

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Examples of naturalism in a Sentence

a major exponent of naturalism, Theodore Dreiser depicted life's harsh realities unflinchingly and without moral judgment

Recent Examples on the Web

The naturalism of these scenes, in which the glitches in human behavior are casually revealed through the awkwardness of silence and the annoyance of too much speech, is lost in Worsham's production. Charles Mcnulty,, "In 'Belleville,' two Americans in Paris head into Hitchcock territory," 24 Apr. 2018 Seen against the woods visible through the gallery window, the accuracy of Ms. Steinkamp’s perceptions is obvious, but so is the artifice of her seeming naturalism. Karen Wilkin, WSJ, "‘Jennifer Steinkamp: Blind Eye’ Review: Exploring the Digital Landscape," 20 Aug. 2018 But around 1890, with the rise of naturalism, critics soured on the potboilers that made her flamboyance shine. Rachel Shteir, WSJ, "‘Playing to the Gods’ Review: Avatars of Female Anguish," 23 Aug. 2018 Stretches of naturalism fare better; Dale Soules, as the woman’s pious, emotionally ruthless aunt, slows things down by sheer force of will, mining genuine laughs. New York Times, "Review: In ‘Woman and Scarecrow,’ Female Fury Doesn’t Get Its Due," 22 May 2018 This is why using naturalism has become a default critical yardstick for reviewers, especially those on a tight deadline. Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Why Film Critics Were Blind to The Big Lebowski’s Brilliance," 9 Mar. 2018 The director's background in documentaries is a bonus here, grounding the film's more fanciful magic-realism elements in cool-headed, observational naturalism. Stephen Dalton, The Hollywood Reporter, "'Volcano': Film Review | Karlovy Vary 2018," 13 July 2018 And the quiet moment in which Dotte (Nicole Lewis) reads Mabel’s fate in tarot cards is an acting class in naturalism. Jesse Green, New York Times, "Review: In ‘Wilder Gone,’ the Pull of Soil, Soul and Preacher Sex," 7 June 2018 On less authentic individuals, that would likely seem like conscious branding for an actor associated with intense naturalism, rather like Robert De Niro in Tribeca, say. Chris Jones,, "Michael Shannon returns to the role he played in 1995 for Red Orchid's 25th season," 3 July 2018

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

circa 1641, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for naturalism

Last Updated

14 May 2019

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Time Traveler for naturalism

The first known use of naturalism was circa 1641

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English Language Learners Definition of naturalism

: a style of art or literature that shows people and things as they actually are

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