uni·​ver·​sal·​ism | \ ˌyü-nə-ˈvər-sə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce universalism (audio) \

Definition of universalism

1 often capitalized
a : a theological doctrine that all human beings will eventually be saved
b : the principles and practices of a liberal Christian denomination founded in the 18th century originally to uphold belief in universal salvation and now united with Unitarianism
2 : something that is universal in scope
3 : the state of being universal : universality

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Other Words from universalism

universalist \ ˌyü-​nə-​ˈvər-​s(ə-​)list How to pronounce universalist (audio) \ noun or adjective, often capitalized

Examples of universalism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Both historians recognize that liberal universalism cannot sustain itself, because the cerebral sense of the nation ultimately descends into an identity politics that is just as tribal as the visceral sense. Grayson Logue, National Review, "A Nation without a Chest," 10 Aug. 2019 Meacham and Lepore are not alone in their concern for the idea of the nation that avoids tribalism and universalism. Grayson Logue, National Review, "A Nation without a Chest," 10 Aug. 2019 Under Labour, Britain would have a larger, deeper state, with a return to universalism at its core. The Economist, "Labour publishes a manifesto to expand the British state," 21 Nov. 2019 There’s a play for universalism here, a bet against identity politics, or extreme partisanship. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "Andrew Yang and the Political Narratives of Asian-Americans," 9 Oct. 2019 But are particularism and universalism our only options? Martin Peretz, WSJ, "Let’s Get the U.N. Out of the U.S.," 28 Sep. 2018 Of course, the criticisms of this blanket condemnation of men — from transnational feminists who decry such glib universalism to U.S. women of color who demand an intersectional perspective — are mostly on the mark. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Is Making Us All Live in His Delusional Reality Show," 15 June 2018 There have always been tensions between liberal universalism and Jewish nationalism. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Natalie Portman and the Crisis of Liberal Zionism," 26 Apr. 2018 In pockets of the contemporary left, there is an allergy to such universalism; or, more precisely, to the idea that prioritizing universalist economic reforms is the most effective means of advancing racial justice. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "50 Years After His Assassination, We Are No Closer to Realizing MLK’s Most Radical Dream," 4 Apr. 2018

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

1722, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

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The first known use of universalism was in 1722

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Last Updated

18 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Universalism.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/universalist?pronunciation&lang=en_us&dir=u&file=univer05. Accessed 22 January 2020.

More from Merriam-Webster on universalism

Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with universalism

Britannica.com: Encyclopedia article about universalism

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