primitivism

noun
prim·​i·​tiv·​ism | \ˈpri-mə-ti-ˌvi-zəm \

Definition of primitivism 

1 : primitive practices or procedures also : a primitive quality or state

2a : belief in the superiority of a simple way of life close to nature

b : belief in the superiority of nonindustrial society to that of the present

3 : the style of art of primitive peoples or primitive artists

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Other Words from primitivism

primitivist \ˈpri-​mə-​ti-​vist \ noun or adjective
primitivistic \ˌpri-​mə-​ti-​ˈvi-​stik \ adjective

Examples of primitivism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The Marquesas, Tahiti and Hawaii all offer a foretaste of Gauguin’s late 19th-century Romantic primitivism, but without his depth of passion. Willard Spiegelman, WSJ, "Sailing the Globe in a Gallery," 3 Aug. 2018 The wide selection of Nadelman items alone — perhaps the peak of Kirstein’s often erratic taste in the visual arts — is worth the visit to this gathering: modernism meets primitivism meets classicism. Alastair Macaulay, New York Times, "Review: ‘Transmissions’ Evokes a Climate (Poetic, With a Chance of Ballet)," 26 Mar. 2018 An instruction on joining us in our vision for the future, a return to primitivism. Megan Armstrong, Billboard, "Cody Simpson & The Tide Make a Wavy Debut With 'Waiting For The Tide' Video: Premiere," 25 Oct. 2017 Can looked back to psychedelia and forward to punk primitivism and the steadiness of dance music Jon Pareles, New York Times, "Blasts From the Past From the Rolling Stones, D’Angelo, Neil Young and Can," 15 Sep. 2017 The Left has contempt for nationalism, seeing in it intellectual and moral primitivism at best, and the road to fascism at worst. Dennis Prager, National Review, "Leftism Is Not Liberalism," 12 Sep. 2017 Sonic Youth fans will be pleased to hear the elements of scuzz noise and high-art primitivism of that band injected into attitudinal riffs with sing-along charm of Talon's song. John Adamian, courant.com, "Grunge Pop Group Kino Kimino At Cafe Nine," 30 Aug. 2017 This and the political and military primitivism of some adversaries (e.g., the Islamic State) are reshaping the environment in which airpower operates, and the purposes of this power. George Will, National Review, "The Air Force Faces the Future," 19 July 2017 A lot of students learn about history through art, and the narrative of anything related to Africa and Polynesia and indigenous America is still laden with this notion of primitivism. New York Times, "Fixing the Met: Art Lovers Speak," 14 July 2017

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

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Last Updated

13 Nov 2018

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Time Traveler for primitivism

The first known use of primitivism was in 1861

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with primitivism

Britannica English: Translation of primitivism for Arabic Speakers

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