struc·​tur·​al·​ism ˈstrək-chə-rə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce structuralism (audio)
: psychology concerned especially with resolution of the mind into structural elements
: structural linguistics
: an anthropological movement associated especially with Claude Lévi-Strauss that seeks to analyze social relationships in terms of highly abstract relational structures often expressed in a logical symbolism
: a method of analysis (as of a literary text or a political system) that is related to cultural anthropology and that focuses on recurring patterns of thought and behavior
ˈstrək-chə-rə-list How to pronounce structuralism (audio)
noun or adjective

Examples of structuralism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web This mode of structuralism was eventually done in by its all- embracing scope. Roger Lewin, Discover Magazine, 11 Nov. 2019 To the contrary, there has been a ceaseless multiplication of rival and largely incompatible sciences of human behavior: stimulus response, sociobiology, rational choice theory, various structuralisms, many attempts at socioneuroscience, and so on. Jason Blakely, Harper's Magazine, 10 July 2023 Critics of structuralism demonstrated that this approach did not discern between competitive and anticompetitive outcomes. Timothy J. Muris, Fortune, 3 Apr. 2023 The interpretive tendency then became supercharged with the introduction of powerful new philosophical traditions from continental Europe (structuralism, Marxism, psychoanalysis, deconstruction, and so on). Evan Kindley, The New York Review of Books, 16 Feb. 2023 The dynamic works, which comprise Herman Miller’s most iconic ads, catalogs and ephemera from 1949 to 1979, feature a range of conceptual styles, from structuralism to modernism, along with a diverse palette. Rachel Cormack, Robb Report, 25 Oct. 2021 The Democratic and Republican bases have arrived at structuralism from different directions. Osita Nwanevu, The New Republic, 29 June 2021 This rejection of the legitimacy of the judicial process is rooted in the same neo-Marxist ideology—a race- and identity-based interpretation of structuralism—that holds sway over the minds of much of our ruling class. Gerard Baker, WSJ, 19 Apr. 2021 Right now, the campus religion remains nihilist, meaning-destroying post-structuralism, whose pilfering god, the one-note Foucault, had near-zero scholarly knowledge of anything before or beyond the European Enlightenment. WSJ, 25 Dec. 2018 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'structuralism.' 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

1907, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of structuralism was in 1907

Dictionary Entries Near structuralism

Cite this Entry

“Structuralism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 2 Dec. 2023.

Medical Definition


struc·​tur·​al·​ism ˈstrək-chə-rə-ˌliz-əm, ˈstrək-shrə- How to pronounce structuralism (audio)
: psychology concerned especially with resolution of the mind into structural elements

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