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

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 How to pronounce unilateralism (audio) \ noun or adjective

Examples of unilateralism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Voters repeatedly cite terrorism, China, and nuclear proliferation as the most significant threats to the United States and are quite comfortable with American unilateralism and a strong American military. Gabriel Scheinmann, National Review, 5 Sep. 2021 Trump’s tendency toward America First unilateralism was bracing to a man schooled in multilateral Cold War alliance-making. Jeremy Carl, Washington Examiner, 11 Feb. 2021 Nyabola thinks that the long-term impact of Trump's unilateralism carries two significant risks. Luke Mcgee, CNN, 30 Oct. 2020 Trump’s instinctive unilateralism, his belief that international institutions cage the U.S. rather than project its power, forced other nations to change their calculations about dealing with Washington. Tom Mctague, The Atlantic, 29 Oct. 2020 Meaningful action to protect human rights is rare, and the collectivist approach, which disdains unilateralism, keeps forceful sovereign responses at bay. Aaron Rhodes, WSJ, 18 Oct. 2020 The coalition has seen a revival in the post-Covid-19 world, despite the perception of Trump’s unilateralism, particularly because of the rising concern in the West with regards to Beijing, Kugelman said. Manavi Kapur, Quartz India, 13 Oct. 2020 Based on the band’s ensuing legal battles, unilateralism generally doesn’t promote unit cohesion. Tom Maxwell, Longreads, 10 Apr. 2020 Through its new unilateralism, the U.S. is getting a bigger say in how the world’s economic pie gets divvied up. Greg Ip, WSJ, 19 Jan. 2020

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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Time Traveler for unilateralism

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The first known use of unilateralism was in 1926

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Dictionary Entries Near unilateralism

unilateral compound pitting



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Last Updated

11 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Unilateralism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/unilateralism. Accessed 18 Sep. 2021.

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