sci·​en·​tism | \ ˈsī-ən-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce scientism (audio) \

Definition of scientism

1 : methods and attitudes typical of or attributed to the natural scientist
2 : 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)

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from scientism

scientistic \ ˌsī-​ən-​ˈti-​stik How to pronounce scientism (audio) \ adjective

Examples of scientism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web 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, "Why Doubt Is Essential to Science," 9 Oct. 2020 Conservatives, at least historically, have been willing to take their ideas above the rim of materialism, to argue against scientism and emphasize the transcendent and spiritual. Samuel James, National Review, "There Is No ‘Party of Science’," 14 Feb. 2020 We were hampered by our inability to think about second- and third-order effects and by our susceptibility to scientism—the false comfort of assuming that numbers and percentages give us a solid empirical basis. Zeynep Tufekci, The Atlantic, "A Failure of Systemic Thinking," 24 Mar. 2020 There’s also a difference between scientism and science. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Deepak Chopra Has Never Been Sick," 17 Oct. 2019 Forced busing was a mad combination of sociological scientism and judicial overreach. Nr Editors, National Review, "The Week," 11 July 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'scientism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of scientism

1870, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for scientism

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about scientism

Time Traveler for scientism

Time Traveler

The first known use of scientism was in 1870

See more words from the same year

Statistics for scientism

Last Updated

20 Jan 2021

Cite this Entry

“Scientism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Jan. 2021.

More from Merriam-Webster on scientism

Britannica English: Translation of scientism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about scientism

Comments on scientism

What made you want to look up scientism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Slippery Words Quiz—Changing with the Times

  • ducreux self portrait yawning
  • What is an earlier meaning of nice?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

 AlphaBear 2

Spell words. Make bears.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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