[ nom-uh-nl-iz-uh m ]
/ ˈnɒm ə nlˌɪz əm /


(in medieval philosophy) the doctrine that general or abstract words do not stand for objectively existing entities and that universals are no more than names assigned to them.Compare conceptualism, realism(def 5a).


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Origin of nominalism

From the French word nominalisme, dating back to 1830–40. See nominal, -ism

OTHER WORDS FROM nominalism Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for nominalism

British Dictionary definitions for nominalism

/ (ˈnɒmɪnəˌlɪzəm) /


the philosophical theory that the variety of objects to which a single general word, such as dog, applies have nothing in common but the nameCompare conceptualism, realism

Derived forms of nominalism

nominalist, noun, adjectivenominalistic, 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