trib·​al·​ism | \ ˈtrī-bə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce tribalism (audio) \

Definition of tribalism

1 : tribal consciousness and loyalty especially : exaltation of the tribe above other groups
2 : strong in-group loyalty

Examples of tribalism in a Sentence

Tribalism within the group is strong. the corrupting influence of tribalism
Recent Examples on the Web The months-long feud that led to his ouster offered a window into the city’s long tradition of political wars and tribalism. Washington Post, 19 Jan. 2022 Immediately after The Wall Street Journal exposed Ms. Holmes’s alleged fraud at Theranos in 2015, some prominent tech investors even rushed to defend her in a bit of kneejerk tribalism. New York Times, 4 Jan. 2022 The tribalism of today resides in a very old, unreflective part of the brain that the Founders worked to temper and subdue through the power of reason and debate. Thomas Koenig, National Review, 24 July 2021 So the importance of this, in our current climate where tribalism continues to rise, is extremely precious and important. San Diego Union-Tribune, 17 Dec. 2021 But provocateur LaBruce doesn’t indulge the secular cant favored by outsider-activists who are intent on demolishing the traditional family in favor of political tribalism. Armond White, National Review, 22 Sep. 2021 The simple fact is (and this is never more true than in our current moment of tribalism) that most people have little to no idea who their House members are. Chris Cillizza, CNN, 31 Aug. 2021 The Illinois Republican talks about tribalism, the Jan. 6 investigation, political violence and whether the GOP can be saved. Bryan Schott, The Salt Lake Tribune, 29 Oct. 2021 Are the extremes too large, the tribalism too deep? Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 13 Sep. 2021

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

1861, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of tribalism was in 1861

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Last Updated

26 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Tribalism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Jan. 2022.

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English Language Learners Definition of tribalism

: loyalty to a tribe or other social group especially when combined with strong negative feelings for people outside the group

More from Merriam-Webster on tribalism

Nglish: Translation of tribalism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tribalism for Arabic Speakers


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