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

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 Our political system — incapacitated by tribalism — has been incapable of addressing the intensifying problem since the Bush administration. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "If We Want to End the Border Crisis, It’s Time to Give Trump His Wall," 22 June 2018 This bias is a dangerous new twist in the tribalism and political dysfunction that is poisoning politics in Washington. The Economist, "American democracy’s built-in bias towards rural Republicans," 12 July 2018 The dominant culture today is tribalism and bitter partisanship. Amanda Paulson, The Christian Science Monitor, "Why these young Republicans see hope in climate action," 28 June 2018 The hegemony of white landowners prompted few, if any, complaints about tribalism in the national conversation. Laila Lalami, New York Times, "Does American ‘Tribalism’ End in a Compromise, or a Fight?," 26 June 2018 De Niro's language — and perhaps more importantly, the crowd's enthusiastic support of it — put tribalism on display, showing that phenomenon only worsened since the 2016 election. Eugene Scott, Washington Post, "De Niro’s anti-Trump Tonys speech reveals the tribalistic and vulgar new normal in political discourse," 11 June 2018 That’s a tall order, especially in this moment of renewed tribalism. Virginia Heffernan, WIRED, "The Delicate Art of Creating New Emoji," 28 June 2018 So powerful is the draw of political tribalism that people are now increasingly able to turn their tastes on a dime in order to conform with what is politically correct. Chris Stirewalt, Fox News, "Roseanne Barr and the new political correctness," 29 May 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

13 Sep 2018

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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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Comments on tribalism

What made you want to look up tribalism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


to reject or criticize sharply

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