qui·​et·​ism ˈkwī-ə-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce quietism (audio)
: a system of religious mysticism teaching that perfection and spiritual peace are attained by annihilation of the will and passive absorption in contemplation of God and divine things
: a passive withdrawn attitude or policy toward the world or worldly affairs
: a state of calmness or passivity
quietist adjective or noun
quietistic adjective

Examples of quietism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the end of The Fraud, Eliza encounters Mr. Bogle’s son Henry, who has grown disgusted with his father’s quietism and become a political radical. Adam Kirsch, Harper's Magazine, 14 Aug. 2023 Moral relativism doesn't imply moral quietism. Sean Carroll, Discover Magazine, 3 May 2010 Prayer is often seen as quietism, a plea to be rescued instead of a call to action. David S. Wallace, The New Yorker, 15 Sep. 2021 To their children, this position seems like unforgivable quietism and complacency. Jiayang Fan, The New Yorker, 9 Dec. 2019 What was an ultimately unsuccessful effort to draw the monkhood out of its political quietism swiftly mutated into an anti-progressive force, and continued to endure as a dark cloud over the region’s politics in subsequent decades. Amar Diwakar, The New Republic, 23 Mar. 2018 To acknowledge this fact is not to call for quietism. Jacob Brogan, Slate Magazine, 27 Mar. 2017 The piece predicts that political quietism, wars, pandemics, and fossil-fuel stubbornness will lead to civilizational collapse and a long dark age. Joey Eschrich, Slate Magazine, 20 Sep. 2017 Diana was more aggressive, the clamorous defender of quietism. Tobi Haslett, The New Yorker, 29 May 2017

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

Word History


quiet entry 1 + -ism, after quietist "practitioner of quietism," probably borrowed from Italian quietista, from quiete quiet entry 1 + -ista -ist entry 1 (perhaps after Spanish oración de quietud, literally, "prayer of quiet," phrase used by the mystics Teresa of Avila and John of the Cross)

First Known Use

1687, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

Time Traveler
The first known use of quietism was in 1687

Dictionary Entries Near quietism

Cite this Entry

“Quietism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/quietism. Accessed 24 May. 2024.

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