tran·​scen·​den·​tal·​ism | \ ˌtran(t)-ˌsen-ˈden-tə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce transcendentalism (audio) , -sən- \

Definition of transcendentalism

1 : a philosophy that emphasizes the a priori conditions of knowledge and experience or the unknowable character of ultimate reality or that emphasizes the transcendent as the fundamental reality
2 : a philosophy that asserts the primacy of the spiritual and transcendental over the material and empirical
3 : the quality or state of being transcendental especially : visionary idealism

Other Words from transcendentalism

transcendentalist \ ˌtran(t)-​ˌsen-​ˈden-​tə-​list How to pronounce transcendentalism (audio) , -​sən-​ \ adjective or noun

Examples of transcendentalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web At the center of the story are Ralph Waldo Emerson and his protégé, Henry David Thoreau, who championed transcendentalism as a way to break with dogmas of the Old World so that Americans would be empowered to think for themselves. Danny Heitman, The Christian Science Monitor, 8 Dec. 2021 While Emerson was diving into nature to become a transparent eyeball, forging the new, homegrown American philosophy of transcendentalism, Poe was cobbling together a myriad of sources in a wild patchwork. Colin Dickey, The New Republic, 21 July 2021 Its workshops span the metaphysical and spiritual, lending the center an air of bohemian transcendentalism. Gregory Thomas,, 31 Oct. 2020 Since its beginnings, Esalen has been hailed as the heir to the American transcendentalism of Emerson and Thoreau, and it’s been dismissed as the festival grounds for navel-gazing and Boomer narcissism. Wallace Baine,, 5 Sep. 2019 Patience Worth’s strange diction, large output, and mix of transcendentalism and Christianity seemed at odds with Curran, a homemaker who dropped out of school at 13. Joy Lanzendorfer, Longreads, 14 June 2018 One of the prime doctrines of transcendentalism is that God, or divinity, permeates every aspect of nature. National Geographic, 5 Feb. 2017 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'transcendentalism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of transcendentalism

1803, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of transcendentalism was in 1803

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Dictionary Entries Near transcendentalism

transcendental idealism



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Cite this Entry

“Transcendentalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 May. 2022.

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