[ ak-tuh-viz-uh m ]
/ ˈæk təˌvɪz əm /


the doctrine or practice of vigorous action or involvement as a means of achieving political or other goals, sometimes by demonstrations, protests, etc.
  1. a theory that the essence of reality is pure activity, especially spiritual activity, or process.
  2. a theory that the relationship between the mind and the objects of perception depends upon the action of the mind.

Origin of activism

From the German word Aktivismus, dating back to 1905–10. See active, -ism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for activism

British Dictionary definitions for activism


/ (ˈæktɪˌvɪzəm) /


a policy of taking direct and often militant action to achieve an end, esp a political or social one
Derived Formsactivist, noun
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

Word Origin and History for activism



1920 in the political sense; see activist + -ism. Earlier (1907) it was used in reference to a philosophical theory.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper