plu·​ral·​ism | \ ˈplu̇r-ə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce pluralism (audio) \

Definition of pluralism

1 : the holding of two or more offices or positions (such as benefices) at the same time
2 : the quality or state of being plural
3a : a theory that there are more than one or more than two kinds of ultimate reality
b : a theory that reality is composed of a plurality of entities
4a : a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain and develop their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common civilization
b : a concept, doctrine, or policy advocating this state

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Other Words from pluralism

pluralist \ ˈplu̇r-​ə-​list How to pronounce pluralism (audio) \ adjective or noun
pluralistic \ ˌplu̇r-​ə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce pluralism (audio) \ adjective
pluralistically \ ˌplu̇r-​ə-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce pluralism (audio) \ adverb

Examples of pluralism in a Sentence

He spoke of the benefits of cultural pluralism. She's a champion of pluralism.
Recent Examples on the Web How distant this man sounds from himself, advancing the ideal of American pluralism then and now. Lauren Michele Jackson, The New Yorker, "Obama and Springsteen’s Podcast Is Here to Lull America," 28 Feb. 2021 For as Brink Lindsey of the centrist Niskanen Center points out, America is a case study of the direct line of causation between pluralism and prosperity. Washington Post, "Biden links prosperity to civic virtues in inauguration speech," 20 Jan. 2021 We have been gifted a marvelous experiment in pluralism here in the United States — a beacon of freedom to the world. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "The Persecuted Church in Iraq Sends Us a Reality Check for Christmas," 28 Dec. 2020 Oregon, a time when the American identity was still in flux, with white chauvinism and capitalistic greed overcoming pluralism and cooperation. Washington Post, "Best movies of 2020: Diverse thrills, chills, Dickensian laughs and a pandemic-friendly trip to Greece," 8 Dec. 2020 But as our commitment to pluralism waned, that system broke down and that vital capacity eroded. Washington Post, "Biden links prosperity to civic virtues in inauguration speech," 20 Jan. 2021 India, once a beacon of religious pluralism, descended into Islamophobic mob violence. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, "The Importance, and Incoherence, of Twitter’s Trump Ban," 15 Jan. 2021 This was the dawning of a new and fragile postbellum pluralism, grounded not in pure reason but in mutual détente. Vinson Cunningham, The New Yorker, "What Thomas Jefferson Could Never Understand About Jesus," 28 Dec. 2020 The answer to our problems, according to French, and to his friend Madison, is pluralism. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, "The Great American Divorce?," 21 Dec. 2020

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

1772, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for pluralism

Time Traveler

The first known use of pluralism was in 1772

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Statistics for pluralism

Last Updated

2 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

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

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More Definitions for pluralism



English Language Learners Definition of pluralism

: a situation in which people of different social classes, religions, races, etc., are together in a society but continue to have their different traditions and interests
: the belief that people of different social classes, religions, races, etc., should live together in a society

More from Merriam-Webster on pluralism

Britannica English: Translation of pluralism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pluralism

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