prag·​ma·​tism | \ ˈprag-mə-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce pragmatism (audio) \

Definition of pragmatism

1 : a practical approach to problems and affairs tried to strike a balance between principles and pragmatism
2 : an American movement in philosophy founded by C. S. Peirce and William James and marked by the doctrines that the meaning of conceptions is to be sought in their practical bearings, that the function of thought is to guide action, and that truth is preeminently to be tested by the practical consequences of belief

Other Words from pragmatism

pragmatist \ ˈprag-​mə-​tist How to pronounce pragmatism (audio) \ adjective or noun
pragmatistic \ ˌprag-​mə-​ˈti-​stik How to pronounce pragmatism (audio) \ adjective

Examples of pragmatism in a Sentence

To put it rather more crudely, he is trying to sell his integrationist and reformist agenda using traditionalist legal wrappings. It is, of course, this pragmatism, which sometimes comes across as slippery casuistry, that so annoys his critics. — Malise Ruthven, New York Review of Books, 16 Aug. 2007 These are books without slogans, manuals that favor subtlety over simplicity, moderation over bombast, pragmatism over ideology. — Jonathan Tepperman, New York Times Book Review, 16 Oct 2005 … compromise (or better yet, its spirit) symbolizes the necessary pragmatism expected of politics in a pluralist society. — Jack N. Rakove, Original Meanings … , 1996 The right person for the job will balance vision with pragmatism.
Recent Examples on the Web In 1615 Donne had agreed to join the Anglican clergy—more out of economic pragmatism, Ms. Rundell argues, than evangelizing zeal. David Propson, WSJ, 26 Aug. 2022 Yet his latest stance evoked a mixture of anger and pragmatism from fellow Democrats. Arkansas Online, 16 July 2022 Yet his latest stance provoked a mixture of anger and pragmatism from fellow Democrats. Alan Fram,, 15 July 2022 One of Japan’s most influential prime ministers, Abe Shinzo, was driven by ideology as well as pragmatism, says a Monitor analyst. Daniel Sneider, The Christian Science Monitor, 11 July 2022 As for the Murdochs, cold hard pragmatism will rule the day. Margaret Sullivan, Washington Post, 1 Aug. 2022 In such a context, pragmatism is of utmost importance. Kevin Lee, The New Republic, 8 Aug. 2022 His father's pragmatism was probably correct at the time, but this 604 is capturing the car that once got away. Brendan Mcaleer, Car and Driver, 3 July 2022 His pragmatism, encyclopedic knowledge, and varied government experience have enriched the Court's deliberations. Ellen Uchimiya, CBS News, 28 Jan. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of pragmatism

circa 1864, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for pragmatism

see pragmatic

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The first known use of pragmatism was circa 1864

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Dictionary Entries Near pragmatism

pragmatic sanction



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Last Updated

17 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Pragmatism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Sep. 2022.

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