sen·​sa·​tion·​al·​ism sen-ˈsā-shnə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce sensationalism (audio)
: empiricism that limits experience as a source of knowledge to sensation or sense perceptions
: the use or effect of sensational subject matter or treatment
sensationalist adjective or noun
sen-ˌsā-shnə-ˈli-stik How to pronounce sensationalism (audio)

Example Sentences

The network was accused of sensationalism in its reporting.
Recent Examples on the Web Many critics of the time, repelled by his vigilantism and sensationalism, condemned his books as nasty, poor, brutish and not short enough. Michael Saler, WSJ, 26 Jan. 2023 The industry touches on ethics and economics, environmentalism and sentimentalism, science and sensationalism, often in surprising ways. Mark Jenkins, Smithsonian Magazine, 11 Jan. 2023 The series all but dives into the sensationalism of the Charles and Diana saga, but don’t worry — Imelda Staunton’s Queen Elizabeth II and Jonathan Pryce’s Prince Philip bring plenty of their own intrigue as well. Savannah Salazar, Vulture, 11 Nov. 2022 The firm making these claims has a history of sensationalism. Razib Khan, Discover Magazine, 9 Aug. 2011 Angelica Jade Bastién resists any sensationalism, and her piece is more powerful for it. Carolyn Wells, Longreads, 26 Oct. 2022 The researchers urged caution when interpreting their work, as the Mosuo are often subject to lurid sensationalism because of their different way of life. Charles Choi, Discover Magazine, 8 Jan. 2018 Whether the widespread fear of spiders came before arachnid sensationalism, or vice versa, the two undoubtedly feed off each other. Oliver Whang, New York Times, 25 Aug. 2022 Too, a commentary on TikTok bullying, a simple legal issue obscured by sensationalism, or an example of the hot-take express at work. Victoria Bekiempis, Vulture, 26 May 2022 See More

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

Word History

First Known Use

1846, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of sensationalism was in 1846

Dictionary Entries Near sensationalism

Cite this Entry

“Sensationalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 1 Apr. 2023.

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