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[nom-uh-nl-iz-uh m] /ˈnɒm ə nlˌɪz əm/
(in medieval philosophy) the doctrine that general or abstract words do not stand for objectively existing entities and that universals are no more than names assigned to them.
Compare conceptualism, realism (def 5a).
Origin of nominalism
From the French word nominalisme, dating back to 1830-40. See nominal, -ism
Related forms
nominalist, noun
nominalistic, adjective
nominalistically, adverb
nonnominalistic, adjective
unnominalistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for nominalism


the philosophical theory that the variety of objects to which a single general word, such as dog, applies have nothing in common but the name Compare conceptualism, realism
Derived Forms
nominalist, noun, adjective
nominalistic, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for nominalism

1820, "view that treats abstract concepts as names only, not realities," from French nominalisme (1752), from nominal, from Latin nominalis (see nominal). Related: Nominalist.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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