nominalism

noun
nom·​i·​nal·​ism | \ ˈnä-mə-nə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce nominalism (audio) , ˈnäm-nə-ˌli-zəm \

Definition of nominalism

1 : a theory that there are no universal essences in reality and that the mind can frame no single concept or image corresponding to any universal or general term
2 : the theory that only individuals and no abstract entities (such as essences, classes, or propositions) exist — compare essentialism, realism

Other Words from nominalism

nominalist \ ˈnä-​mə-​nə-​list How to pronounce nominalism (audio) , ˈnäm-​nə-​list \ noun
nominalist or nominalistic \ ˌnä-​mə-​nə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce nominalism (audio) , ˌnäm-​nə-​ˈli-​ \ adjective

Examples of nominalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Occam instead proposed what became known as nominalism. Andrew Crumey, WSJ, 8 Oct. 2021

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

First Known Use of nominalism

1830, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Learn More About nominalism

Time Traveler for nominalism

Time Traveler

The first known use of nominalism was in 1830

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near nominalism

nominal essence

nominalism

nominalization

See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for nominalism

Cite this Entry

“Nominalism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/nominalism. Accessed 20 Aug. 2022.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

More from Merriam-Webster on nominalism

Britannica English: Translation of nominalism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about nominalism

WORD OF THE DAY

Test Your Vocabulary

Words Named After People

  • name tags
  • Namesake of the leotard, Jules Léotard had what profession?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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