sen·​ti·​men·​tal·​ism | \ ˌsen-tə-ˈmen-tə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce sentimentalism (audio) \

Definition of sentimentalism

1 : the disposition to favor or indulge in sentimentality
2 : an excessively sentimental conception or statement

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Other Words from sentimentalism

sentimentalist \ ˌsen-​tə-​ˈmen-​tə-​list How to pronounce sentimentalism (audio) \ noun

Examples of sentimentalism in a Sentence

the sentimentalism of 19th-century art the novel's sentimentalism bored me
Recent Examples on the Web Nixon critics tend to associate his name not just with lying and abuse of power, but also with maudlin sentimentalism and elaborate excuse-making. Sebastian Smee, Washington Post, "Anger at Donald Trump may turn great artists into political cartoonists. It’s happened before.," 4 Sep. 2020 The trouble is that, mixed up in all this, there is a heartfelt sentimentalism (understandable, given the circumstances) and political opportunism. Madeleine Kearns, National Review, "The NHS Religion," 14 Apr. 2020 With the rise of the middle class in the 17th and 18th centuries, sentimentalism became a movement that emphasized compassion as a desirable character trait, causing an increase in the expressions of sentiment. cleveland, "The long history of Valentine’s Day told as a short story at The Normandy in Rocky River," 10 Feb. 2020 The sentimentalism was mitigated by regular doses of bawdy humor, the targets of which were no doubt the envy of quite a number of spectators of both sexes. Los Angeles Times, "Review: Hugh Jackman sings, dances and charms, delivering a grand time at the Hollywood Bowl," 21 July 2019 Well, not too much treacle; anything that starts with James Earl Jones' narration is bound to have its own blend of gravitas and sentimentalism. A.d. Amorosi,, "Album Review: Beyonce‘s ‘The Lion King: The Gift’," 19 July 2019 Two new books offer important corrections to such sentimentalism. The Economist, "Under the surface of Eisenhower’s era," 3 May 2018 Score one for Boston sentimentalism — and count me in. Dave Denison,, "The Citgo sign has a dark side. Should that matter to Boston?," 8 Mar. 2018 The melodies relate to Celtic music, and the people who live there share a love for sentimentalism and suffering in silence. WSJ, "Novelist Graeme Macrae Burnet on Johnny Cash," 24 Oct. 2017

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

1817, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of sentimentalism was in 1817

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Cite this Entry

“Sentimentalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 14 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for sentimentalism



English Language Learners Definition of sentimentalism

: a tendency to have or express feelings of love, sadness, etc., especially in a way that seems foolish or excessive : a sentimental quality

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