[doo-uh-liz-uh m, dyoo-]
See more synonyms for dualism on Thesaurus.com
  1. the state of being dual or consisting of two parts; division into two.
  2. Philosophy.
    1. the view that there are just two mutually irreducible substances.Compare monism, pluralism.
    2. the view that substances are either material or mental.
  3. Theology.
    1. the doctrine that there are two independent divine beings or eternal principles, one good and the other evil.
    2. the belief that a human being embodies two parts, as body and soul.

Origin of dualism

First recorded in 1785–95; dual + -ism
Related formsdu·al·ist, noun, adjectivenon·du·al·ism, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for dualism

polarity, biformity, doubleness, duplexity

Examples from the Web for dualism

Contemporary Examples of dualism

Historical Examples of dualism

British Dictionary definitions for dualism


  1. the state of being twofold or double
  2. philosophy the doctrine, as opposed to idealism and materialism, that reality consists of two basic types of substance usually taken to be mind and matter or two basic types of entity, mental and physicalCompare monism
    1. the theory that the universe has been ruled from its origins by two conflicting powers, one good and one evil, both existing as equally ultimate first causes
    2. the theory that there are two personalities, one human and one divine, in Christ
Derived Formsdualist, noundualistic, adjectivedualistically, adverb
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 dualism

1755 as a term in philosophy, from French dualisme (1754); also used in theological senses; see dual + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

dualism in Medicine


  1. The theory that blood cells have two origins, from the lymphatic system and from the bone marrow.
  2. The view in psychology that the mind and body function separately, without interchange.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

dualism in Culture


In philosophy and theology, any system that explains phenomena by two opposing principles. Many philosophers hold to a dualism of mind and matter, or mind and body. For many theologians, the two principles are those of good and evil.

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.