pos·​i·​tiv·​ism | \ˈpä-zə-ti-ˌvi-zəm, ˈpäz-ti-\

Definition of positivism 

1a : a theory that theology and metaphysics are earlier imperfect modes of knowledge and that positive knowledge is based on natural phenomena and their properties and relations as verified by the empirical sciences

b : logical positivism

2 : the quality or state of being positive

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Other Words from positivism

positivist \ˈpä-​zə-​ti-​vist, ˈpäz-​ti-​ \ adjective or noun
positivistic \ˌpä-​zə-​ti-​ˈvi-​stik, ˌpäz-​ti-​ \ adjective
positivistically \ˌpä-​zə-​ti-​ˈvi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē, ˌpäz-​ti-​ \ adverb

Examples of positivism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The senior management team at Kimpton fosters an energy of positivism around the head office that permeates down to all of our managers at our hotels and to all employees. Fortune, "Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants," 26 June 2018 At the root of society’s failures, though, are two ideological villains: positivism and market fundamentalism. Bruce Sterling, WIRED, "Historians, dabbling in science fiction, evoke a climate collapse," 8 Apr. 2013

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

First Known Use of positivism

1842, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for positivism

French positivisme, from positif positive + -isme -ism

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The first known use of positivism was in 1842

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More from Merriam-Webster on positivism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with positivism

Britannica English: Translation of positivism for Arabic Speakers

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about positivism

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to make faulty or ineffective

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