[ hi-stawr-uh-siz-uh m, -stor- ]
/ hɪˈstɔr əˌsɪz əm, -ˈstɒr- /


a theory that history is determined by immutable laws and not by human agency.
a theory that all cultural phenomena are historically determined and that historians must study each period without imposing any personal or absolute value system.
a profound or excessive respect for historical institutions, as laws or traditions.
a search for laws of historical evolution that would explain and predict historical phenomena.

Origin of historicism

1890–95; historic + -ism; compare German Historismus

OTHER WORDS FROM historicism

his·tor·i·cist, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

British Dictionary definitions for historicist

/ (hɪˈstɒrɪˌsɪzəm) /


the belief that natural laws govern historical events which in turn determine social and cultural phenomena
the doctrine that each period of history has its own beliefs and values inapplicable to any other, so that nothing can be understood independently of its historical context
the conduct of any enquiry in accordance with these views
excessive emphasis on history, historicism, past styles, etc

Derived forms of historicism

historicist, noun, 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