par·​tic·​u·​lar·​ism | \ pər-ˈti-k(yə-)lə-ˌri-zəm How to pronounce particularism (audio) , pə- also pär- \

Definition of particularism

1 : exclusive or special devotion to a particular interest
2 : a political theory that each political group has a right to promote its own interests and especially independence without regard to the interests of larger groups
3 : a tendency to explain complex social phenomena in terms of a single causative factor

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Other Words from particularism

particularist \ pər-​ˈti-​k(yə-​)lə-​rist How to pronounce particularism (audio) , pə-​ also  pär-​ \ noun or adjective
particularistic \ pər-​ˌti-​k(yə-​)lə-​ˈri-​stik How to pronounce particularism (audio) , pə-​ also  pär-​ \ adjective

Examples of particularism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The task for our time is to preserve international stability while making a sustainable place for the domestic particularisms without which even the most rational of structures will collapse upon itself for want of popular legitimacy. A. Wess Mitchell, National Review, "Conservatives and Geopolitical Change," 2 Apr. 2020 In the twenty-first century, examples of this modern particularism are rife. Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "How ‘Big Law’ Makes Big Money," 28 Jan. 2020 Her sense of humor has a rooted particularism, and her comic timing is sharp. Margaret Talbot, The New Yorker, "Is the Supreme Court’s Fate in Elena Kagan’s Hands?," 11 Nov. 2019 The AfD has exploited the power of eastern particularism. The Economist, "Germans still don’t agree on what reunification meant," 31 Oct. 2019 But are particularism and universalism our only options? Martin Peretz, WSJ, "Let’s Get the U.N. Out of the U.S.," 28 Sep. 2018 Over time, elision became neglect: Partial articulations of a world of peoples were conflated with the very toxic particularism they had been created to realistically combat. Martin Peretz, WSJ, "‘Rooted Cosmopolitans’ Review: Of Persons and Peoples," 8 May 2018 Summing up, Trump’s tariffs exhibit definite hallmarks of presidential particularism. Kenneth Lowande, Washington Post, "Will Trump’s tariffs help him with his voters?," 6 Mar. 2018 Citing the work of Jonathan Dancy, Eleanor preaches the virtues of moral particularism—the belief that there are no absolute principles, because the specifics of each individual situation dictate the proper moral response. Scott Meslow, GQ, "The Good Place," 19 Jan. 2018

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

circa 1834, in the meaning defined at sense 2

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Time Traveler for particularism

Time Traveler

The first known use of particularism was circa 1834

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Cite this Entry

“Particularism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

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