[fuhn-duh-men-tl-iz-uh m]
  1. (sometimes initial capital letter) a religious movement characterized by a strict belief in the literal interpretation of religious texts, especially within American Protestantism and Islam.
  2. the beliefs held by those in this movement.
  3. strict adherence to any set of basic ideas or principles: the fundamentalism of the extreme conservatives.

Origin of fundamentalism

1920–25, Americanism; fundamental + -ism; originally in reference to the American Protestant fundamentalism movement, which arose in the late 19th and early 20th centuries in reaction to modernism
Related formsfun·da·men·tal·ist, noun, adjectivean·ti·fun·da·men·tal·ism, nounan·ti·fun·da·men·tal·ist, noun, adjectivenon·fun·da·men·tal·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

British Dictionary definitions for anti-fundamentalism


  1. Christianity (esp among certain Protestant sects) the belief that every word of the Bible is divinely inspired and therefore true
  2. Islam a movement favouring strict observance of the teachings of the Koran and Islamic law
  3. strict adherence to the fundamental principles of any set of beliefs
Derived Formsfundamentalist, noun, adjectivefundamentalistic, 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

anti-fundamentalism in Culture


A conservative movement in theology among nineteenth- and twentieth-century Christians (see also Christian). Fundamentalists believe that the statements in the Bible (see also Bible) are literally true.


Fundamentalists often argue against the theory of evolution. (See Scopes trial.)
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.