What does Modernism mean?

Definitions for Modernism
ˈmɒd ərˌnɪz əmmod·ernism

This dictionary definitions page includes all the possible meanings, example usage and translations of the word Modernism.

Princeton's WordNet

  1. modernismnoun

    genre of art and literature that makes a self-conscious break with previous genres

  2. modernity, modernness, modernism, contemporaneity, contemporaneousnessnoun

    the quality of being current or of the present

    "a shopping mall would instill a spirit of modernity into this village"

  3. modernismnoun

    practices typical of contemporary life or thought


  1. modernismnoun

    Modern or contemporary ideas, thought, practices, etc.

  2. modernismnoun

    Anything that is characteristic of modernity.

  3. modernismnoun

    any of several styles of art, architecture, literature, philosophy, etc., that flourished in the 20th century

  4. modernismnoun

    a religious movement in the early 20th century that tried to reconcile Roman Catholic dogma with modern science and philosophy

Samuel Johnson's Dictionary

  1. Modernismnoun

    Deviation from the ancient and classical manner. A word invented by Swift.

    Etymology: from modern.

    Scribblers send us over their trash in prose and verse, with abominable curtailings and quaint modernisms. Jonathan Swift.


  1. Modernism

    Modernism is both a philosophical and arts movement that arose from broad transformations in Western society during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The movement reflected a desire for the creation of new forms of art, philosophy, and social organization which reflected the newly emerging industrial world, including features such as urbanization, architecture, new technologies, and war. Artists attempted to depart from traditional forms of art, which they considered outdated or obsolete. The poet Ezra Pound's 1934 injunction to "Make it New" was the touchstone of the movement's approach. Modernist innovations included abstract art, the stream-of-consciousness novel, montage cinema, atonal and twelve-tone music, divisionist painting and modern architecture. Modernism explicitly rejected the ideology of realism and made use of the works of the past by the employment of reprise, incorporation, rewriting, recapitulation, revision and parody. Modernism also rejected the certainty of Enlightenment thinking, and many modernists also rejected religious belief. A notable characteristic of modernism is self-consciousness concerning artistic and social traditions, which often led to experimentation with form, along with the use of techniques that drew attention to the processes and materials used in creating works of art.While some scholars see modernism continuing into the 21st century, others see it evolving into late modernism or high modernism. Postmodernism is a departure from modernism and rejects its basic assumptions.


  1. modernism

    Modernism is a broad cultural, intellectual, and artistic movement or stance that emerged from the mid-19th to the mid-20th century, largely as a response to major societal changes due to industrialization, urbanization, technological innovation and the realities of World War I. It is characterized by a deliberate break from traditional styles of expression and creativity, promoting instead a radical emphasis on new forms of expression, abstract and fragmented approaches, and the highlighting of processes and materials used. In literature, arts, architecture, and criticism, modernism often involves a rejection of realism, embracing experimentation and a focus on individual subjectivity.

Webster Dictionary

  1. Modernismnoun

    modern practice; a thing of recent date; esp., a modern usage or mode of expression


  1. Modernism

    Modernism, in its broadest definition, is modern thought, character, or practice. More specifically, the term describes the modernist movement in the arts, its set of cultural tendencies and associated cultural movements, originally arising from wide-scale and far-reaching changes to Western society in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. In particular the development of modern industrial societies and the rapid growth of cities, followed then by the horror of World War I, were among the factors that shaped Modernism. Related terms are modern, modernist, contemporary, and postmodern. In art, Modernism explicitly rejects the ideology of realism and makes use of the works of the past, through the application of reprise, incorporation, rewriting, recapitulation, revision and parody in new forms. Modernism also rejects the lingering certainty of Enlightenment thinking, as well as the idea of a compassionate, all-powerful Creator. In general, the term Modernism encompasses the activities and output of those who felt the "traditional" forms of art, architecture, literature, religious faith, social organization and daily life were becoming outdated in the new economic, social, and political conditions of an emerging fully industrialized world. The poet Ezra Pound's 1934 injunction to "Make it new!" was paradigmatic of the movement's approach towards the obsolete. Another paradigmatic exhortation was articulated by philosopher and composer Theodor Adorno, who, in the 1940s, challenged conventional surface coherence, and appearance of harmony typical of the rationality of Enlightenment thinking. A salient characteristic of Modernism is self-consciousness. This self-consciousness often led to experiments with form and work that draws attention to the processes and materials used.

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How to pronounce Modernism?

How to say Modernism in sign language?


  1. Chaldean Numerology

    The numerical value of Modernism in Chaldean Numerology is: 8

  2. Pythagorean Numerology

    The numerical value of Modernism in Pythagorean Numerology is: 2

Examples of Modernism in a Sentence

  1. Stefanie Zoche:

    Modernism is reduced to a kind of iconography to convey a certain feeling -- something special is happening here, we are modern.

  2. Todd Brandow:

    He really was one of the greats, he was the founding figure of modernism in photography and the modern woman in fashion photography, as well as modern portraiture.

  3. Humayoun Azizi:

    (Karzai's) style of leadership was more traditional while Ashraf Ghani wants to promote modernism.

  4. Elias Canetti:

    A modern man has nothing to add to modernism, if only because he has nothing to oppose it with. The well-adapted drop off the dead limb of time like lice.

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Translations for Modernism

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"Modernism." Definitions.net. STANDS4 LLC, 2024. Web. 14 Jun 2024. <https://www.definitions.net/definition/Modernism>.

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