plu·​ral·​ism | \ ˈplu̇r-ə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce pluralism (audio) \

Definition of pluralism

1 : the holding of two or more offices or positions (such as benefices) at the same time
2 : the quality or state of being plural
3a : a theory that there are more than one or more than two kinds of ultimate reality
b : a theory that reality is composed of a plurality of entities
4a : a state of society in which members of diverse ethnic, racial, religious, or social groups maintain and develop their traditional culture or special interest within the confines of a common civilization
b : a concept, doctrine, or policy advocating this state

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Other Words from pluralism

pluralist \ ˈplu̇r-​ə-​list How to pronounce pluralism (audio) \ adjective or noun
pluralistic \ ˌplu̇r-​ə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce pluralism (audio) \ adjective
pluralistically \ ˌplu̇r-​ə-​ˈli-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce pluralism (audio) \ adverb

Examples of pluralism in a Sentence

He spoke of the benefits of cultural pluralism. She's a champion of pluralism.
Recent Examples on the Web Lebanon must find a way to preserve the country’s tradition of liberalism and pluralism amid its descent into chaos and darkness. Andrew Doran, WSJ, 30 Sep. 2021 Advocates for pluralism are hoping now that the absence of haredim from this coalition will herald a liberalization of its public religious life. Ben Sales,, 5 Aug. 2021 There's little cultural overlap between violent extremists abroad and violent extremists at home, but then there's disdain for pluralism and their disregard for human life, and their determination to defile national symbols. ABC News, 12 Sep. 2021 While political control remained stringent, especially after the Tiananmen Square crackdown in 1989, the party offered an ever-expanding degree of economic and social freedoms in exchange for the absence of political pluralism. Nectar Gan And Steve George, CNN, 8 Sep. 2021 It can be seen in the 70% of Afghan girls attending school before the government fell, or in the fearless local human rights groups that emerged and in the political pluralism that very imperfect democratic rule fostered. Howard Lafranchi, The Christian Science Monitor, 18 Aug. 2021 Parties should instead allow more internal pluralism, while exercising greater vigilance over potential anti-democratic tendencies within their ranks. Washington Post, 13 Aug. 2021 But all that is now in jeopardy because political pluralism has unleashed new waves of corruption, and political instability has destabilized a once strong economy. Ian Bremmer, Time, 12 Aug. 2021 Many Afghans, too, remain utterly unconvinced by the new face presented by the Taliban, and its promises of political pluralism and women’s and minority rights. New York Times, 17 Aug. 2021

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

1772, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for pluralism

Time Traveler

The first known use of pluralism was in 1772

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Dictionary Entries Near pluralism

plural executive


pluralistic idealism

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Statistics for pluralism

Last Updated

4 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Pluralism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Oct. 2021.

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More Definitions for pluralism



English Language Learners Definition of pluralism

: a situation in which people of different social classes, religions, races, etc., are together in a society but continue to have their different traditions and interests
: the belief that people of different social classes, religions, races, etc., should live together in a society

More from Merriam-Webster on pluralism

Britannica English: Translation of pluralism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about pluralism


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