sci·​en·​tism ˈsī-ən-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce scientism (audio)
: methods and attitudes typical of or attributed to the natural scientist
: an exaggerated trust in the efficacy of the methods of natural science applied to all areas of investigation (as in philosophy, the social sciences, and the humanities)
scientistic adjective

Examples of scientism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The inability to found any discipline of social science akin to one of the natural sciences is a key feature of the spread of scientism in the modern world. Jason Blakely, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 Perhaps most importantly, the American weight loss discourse must move away from a reflexive scientism, which has enabled biomedicine to subject the entirety of human experience to its single-minded scrutiny. WIRED, 15 Feb. 2023 In an age of too much information, our preconceptions and priors take over to help us weed through explanations, and in an age of Victorian scientism, that means vampires aren’t an option. Jeremy Dauber, The Atlantic, 31 Oct. 2022 These impulses began to seem like firm examples of scientism, a spiritual impoverishment in which one’s feelings and opinions hide behind a facade of false exactitude. Sasha Frere-Jones, Harper’s Magazine , 9 Nov. 2022 The high calling that Del Noce leaves us is to break through this impasse and once again think and live in truths about God and man that transcend materialism, scientism, and an unexamined secularism. Richard M. Reinsch Ii, National Review, 17 Feb. 2022 Perhaps as hostility toward the too-early-to-tell recklessness of bureaucratic scientism. Ian Bogost, The Atlantic, 14 Dec. 2021 But his consilience project stems from excessive faith in science, or scientism. John Horgan, Scientific American, 25 June 2021 The first is a form of blind scientism—that is, a belief in the capacity of science to solve all problems. Liv Grjebine, Scientific American, 9 Oct. 2020 See More

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

Word History


scient- (in Latin scientia "knowledge, science" or scientific) + -ism

First Known Use

1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of scientism was in 1870

Dictionary Entries Near scientism

Cite this Entry

“Scientism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Oct. 2023.

More from Merriam-Webster on scientism

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!