trib·​al·​ism | \ ˈtrī-bə-ˌli-zəm \

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

Even the power of faith which frequently inspires great generosity and self-sacrifice can fall victim to tribalism. Caroline Hallemann, Town & Country, "Queen Elizabeth's Christmas Message Reflects on the Royal Family's 'Busy Year'," 25 Dec. 2018 Former President Barack Obama discussing political tribalism during a speech at the University of Illinois on Friday. Fox News Staff, Fox News, "The GOP battle for the speakership intensifies," 7 Sep. 2018 These independents supposedly hold the key to breaking through our bitter partisanship, our rampant tribalism. Michael Wear, Time, "Don't Quit the Republican Party. Stay and Fight," 22 June 2018 Fighter jets and 21st-century burgers As Wilson's anecdote illustrates, where there are fans, there's often tribalism. Jonathan M. Gitlin, Ars Technica, "Open mind, wide open throttle: We go to our first NASCAR race," 15 Nov. 2018 Rather, colleges and universities inculcate the practices and spirit of the tribalism that disfigures American politics. Peter Berkowitz, WSJ, "Conservatism and Populism Go Back Centuries," 6 Nov. 2018 Only recently have many in this country begun to appraise the extent of the tribalism at home. Laila Lalami, New York Times, "Does American ‘Tribalism’ End in a Compromise, or a Fight?," 26 June 2018 In Political Tribes: Group Instinct and the Fate of Nations, Amy Chua covers the rampant tribalism that has thrived both in American politics and globally. Emily Heller, Vox, "5 books making the case that American democracy is in trouble," 23 Apr. 2018 That has protected it from scandals over fake news, electoral manipulation and political tribalism. The Economist, "Can Netflix please investors and still avoid the techlash?," 28 June 2018

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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Statistics for tribalism

Last Updated

4 Jan 2019

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Time Traveler for tribalism

The first known use of tribalism was in 1861

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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

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More from Merriam-Webster on tribalism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with tribalism

Nglish: Translation of tribalism for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of tribalism for Arabic Speakers

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