[ fuhn-duh-men-tl-iz-uh m ]
/ ˌfʌn dəˈmɛn tlˌɪz əm /


(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.
the beliefs held by those in this movement.
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 forms

fun·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. 2019

Examples from the Web for fundamentalism

British Dictionary definitions for fundamentalism


/ (ˌfʌndəˈmɛntəˌlɪzəm) /


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

Derived Forms

fundamentalist, 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

Culture definitions for fundamentalism


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.