spir·​i·​tu·​al·​ism | \ ˈspir-i-chə-wə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce spiritualism (audio) , -i-chə-ˌli-, -ich-wə-ˌli- \

Definition of spiritualism

1 : the view that spirit is a prime element of reality
2a : a belief that spirits of the dead communicate with the living usually through a medium
b capitalized : a movement comprising religious organizations emphasizing spiritualism

Other Words from spiritualism

spiritualist \ ˈspir-​i-​chə-​wə-​list How to pronounce spiritualism (audio) , -​i-​chə-​list , -​ich-​wə-​list \ noun, often capitalized
spiritualistic \ ˌspir-​i-​chə-​wə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce spiritualism (audio) , -​i-​chə-​ˈli-​ , -​ich-​wə-​ˈli-​ \ adjective

Examples of spiritualism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web But spiritualism — the belief that the living can communicate with the dead — is very old, its popularity surging in times of high mortality rates: in the Victorian era, for example, and after major wars in the United States and Europe. New York Times, 26 Nov. 2021 And at the same time spiritualism—the resort to mediums for sibylline wisdom or contact with the dead—began to flourish among educated people, even among scientists, as never before. Neal Ascherson, The New York Review of Books, 22 July 2021 Kena: Bridge Of Spirits is lined with nods to Balinese and Japanese culture and in a conscious effort to add authenticity and appropriation to a fictional world embedded in spiritualism. Joshua Khan, Wired, 11 Oct. 2021 According to the biography, Marcia was interested in spiritualism and the occult, and the couple led a reclusive life. Christen Kelley, USA TODAY, 5 Oct. 2021 Eugénie is smart, an avid reader and a rebellious character with an interest in spiritualism. CNN, 17 Sep. 2021 The bafflement that comes with loss is certainly a strong enough emotion to get a story moving, but, by turning to spiritualism, visions, and the afterlife, Morgan has wandered into hokum without illuminating grief. Richard Brod, The New Yorker, 11 Aug. 2021 The choreography is often slow and ritualistic, and some scenes include tribal drums, adding an overtone of spiritualism. Jeremy Hallock, Dallas News, 31 Aug. 2021 People look to spiritualism in times of turmoil, said James Alcock, a professor of psychology at York University who studies parapsychological beliefs. Neelam Bohra And Aj Willingham, CNN, 19 Aug. 2021

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

1749, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of spiritualism was in 1749

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Last Updated

2 Dec 2021

Cite this Entry

“Spiritualism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/spiritualism. Accessed 3 Dec. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of spiritualism

: a belief that the spirits of dead people can communicate with living people


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