pragmatism

noun

prag·​ma·​tism ˈprag-mə-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce pragmatism (audio)
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
pragmatist adjective or noun
pragmatistic 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 Starmer more broadly took swipes at the Tory governments that had ruled Britain since 2010, and at the swell of populism that has rippled across the UK and Europe, attempting to lay claim to Britain’s center ground with a public push for pragmatism. Rob Picheta, CNN, 17 July 2024 The Politics of Jinnah Born into a middle-class Gujarati family, Jinnah is known for his pragmatism and secular views. Nahal Sheikh, JSTOR Daily, 15 May 2024 In deal with Republicans, UW Regents chose pragmatism over principles. Hope Karnopp, Journal Sentinel, 2 Jan. 2024 Yet the tension between pragmatism and party loyalty for Johnson was there from the start. David Sivak, Washington Examiner - Political News and Conservative Analysis About Congress, the President, and the Federal Government, 6 July 2024 See all Example Sentences for pragmatism 

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'pragmatism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

Etymology

see pragmatic

First Known Use

circa 1864, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of pragmatism was circa 1864

Dictionary Entries Near pragmatism

Cite this Entry

“Pragmatism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/pragmatism. Accessed 24 Jul. 2024.

Kids Definition

pragmatism

noun
prag·​ma·​tism ˈprag-mə-ˌtiz-əm How to pronounce pragmatism (audio)
1
: a practical approach to problems and affairs
2
: a doctrine that truth is to be tested by the practical effects of belief
pragmatist adjective or noun
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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