uni·​lat·​er·​al·​ism | \ˌyü-ni-ˈla-t(ə-)rə-ˌli-zəm \

Definition of unilateralism 

: a policy of taking unilateral action (as in international affairs) regardless of outside support or reciprocity also : advocacy of such a policy

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Other Words from unilateralism

unilateralist \ ˌyü-​ni-​ˈla-​t(ə-​)rə-​list \ noun or adjective

Examples of unilateralism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

China’s Minister of Commerce Gao Feng recently called on the United States to abandon unilateralism and engage in the WTO’s multilateral process, as well as end the block on Appellate Body appointments. Rachel Brewster, Washington Post, "Trump is breaking the WTO. Will China want to save it?," 2 May 2018 Instead of making Iran look like a diplomacy-loving victim of American unilateralism, Tehran would have to defend its odious Syria policy. Mark Dubowitz And Richard Goldberg, WSJ, "Use Iran Sanctions to Stop Assad," 18 Apr. 2018 Meanwhile, recent comments by former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson vindicating the 19th century Monroe Doctrine, coupled with Trump’s threat of a military solution to Venezuela’s crisis, have spread fears of a return to U.S. unilateralism. Washington Post, "Latin America takes Trump’s forgoing of summit in stride," 10 Apr. 2018 For all its country-specific fervor, the Olympics is a proudly multilateral event taking place this year in a world that, from Brexit to Trump policies, is awash in a burst of unilateralism. USA TODAY, "Against tense global backdrop, let the Games begin," 7 Feb. 2018 This looks like a short-term win for Mr. Trump’s trade unilateralism. Greg Ip, WSJ, "Weakened Nafta, WTO Would Pave Way for Conflict," 18 Oct. 2017 For President George W. Bush, the withdrawal from the Kyoto Protocol in 2001 proved to be a seminal moment, cementing a perception of unilateralism that alienated overseas allies and further pushed away domestic critics. Peter Baker, New York Times, "16 Years Later, Bush’s Climate Pact Exit Holds Lessons for Trump," 4 June 2017 Her supporters would laud the court for having restrained a woman who, with blithe unilateralism, had attempted to put an ocean between a small boy and one of his mothers. Ian Parker, The New Yorker, "What Makes a Parent?," 22 May 2017

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

1926, in the meaning defined above

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The first known use of unilateralism was in 1926

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playful or foolish behavior

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