pres·​ent·​ism ˈpre-zᵊn-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce presentism (audio)
: an attitude toward the past dominated by present-day attitudes and experiences
presentist adjective

Examples of presentism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web There’s another form of presentism, less malevolent but equally misleading and potentially as dangerous. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 15 Jan. 2024 On the one hand, Mr. Robertson rejects presentism. Jeffrey Collins, WSJ, 12 Mar. 2021 Historians often refer to this error as presentism, the tendency to read contemporary attitudes back onto history. Beverly Gage, The New Yorker, 23 Jan. 2023 All of which tends to confirm Mr. Sweet’s observations about the perils of presentism and activism. Dominic Green, WSJ, 26 Aug. 2022 This means valuing presentism over actual productivity, which inadvertently promotes pretending to work rather than work, and political maneuvering over value creation and merit. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic, Forbes, 26 Jan. 2022 The presentism that Hartog fleshed out in his writing is a cynical worldview devoid of vision. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 12 July 2020 This is not a case of presentism, that historical sin of applying present-day virtues upon the past. David Reamer, Anchorage Daily News, 19 Oct. 2020 Hartog is quick to point out that this idea of presentism doesn’t explain all of modern life’s conundrums. Bernhard Warner, Fortune, 12 July 2020 See More

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

Word History


present entry 3

First Known Use

1923, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of presentism was in 1923

Dictionary Entries Near presentism

Cite this Entry

“Presentism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Feb. 2024.

Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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