sen·​sa·​tion·​al·​ism | \ sen-ˈsā-shnə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce sensationalism (audio) , -shə-nə-ˌli-zəm\

Definition of sensationalism

1 : empiricism that limits experience as a source of knowledge to sensation or sense perceptions
2 : the use or effect of sensational subject matter or treatment

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Other Words from sensationalism

sensationalist \ sen-​ˈsā-​shnə-​list How to pronounce sensationalist (audio) \ adjective or noun
sensationalistic \ sen-​ˌsā-​shnə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce sensationalistic (audio) , -​shə-​nə-​ˈlis-​tik \ adjective

Examples of sensationalism in a Sentence

The network was accused of sensationalism in its reporting.

Recent Examples on the Web

Never a company to shy from sensationalism, A24 emerged as the likely suitor for Noe's latest bacchanal that stars Sofia Boutella as a dancer who finds pleasure in a no-rules forest orgy. Tatiana Siegel, The Hollywood Reporter, "Cannes: A24 in Talks to Acquire Gaspar Noe’s Sex-Fueled 'Climax'," 14 May 2018 Janet Parent witnessed that sensationalism up close. Los Angeles Times, "Families of Charles Manson victims still fighting to tell their loved ones’ stories, 50 years later," 9 Aug. 2019 But that’s not enough sensationalism for a lot of places. Jasmine Grant, Essence, "Monica Gets Real About Her Divorce: 'I'm Not Ashamed Of What's Happening In My Life'," 5 Aug. 2019 Immigrants in America have been targeted for political sensationalism before. Matt Ford, The New Republic, "Trump’s Day of Terror," 12 July 2019 But rejecting those false choices and focusing first on kids translates much of the article’s sensationalism into the language of common sense. Ben Austin, Orange County Register, "Since when is putting students before bureaucratic and union interests breaking news?," 12 July 2019 The idea is to reduce sensationalism and surface stories that are actually meaningful. Arielle Pardes, WIRED, "Escape Crappy News Recommendation Algorithms With the Gem App," 8 July 2019 Single-study sensationalism is ubiquitous – for example, glyphosate in oats, coconut oil and weight, coffee causing cancer – and findings lack context. The Conversation, "Confused about what to eat? Science can help," 5 July 2019 Inflated estimates easily border on sensationalism and seriously impact our credibility. Patrick Dehahn, Quartz, "More than 1 million Muslims are detained in China—but how did we get that number?," 4 July 2019

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

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for sensationalism

Last Updated

27 Aug 2019

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Time Traveler for sensationalism

The first known use of sensationalism was in 1846

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More Definitions for sensationalism



English Language Learners Definition of sensationalism

disapproving : the use of shocking details to cause a lot of excitement or interest

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with sensationalism

Spanish Central: Translation of sensationalism Encyclopedia article about sensationalism

Comments on sensationalism

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


to spread over or through

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