[skuh-las-tuh-siz-uh m]
  1. (sometimes initial capital letter) the system of theological and philosophical teaching predominant in the Middle Ages, based chiefly upon the authority of the church fathers and of Aristotle and his commentators.
  2. narrow adherence to traditional teachings, doctrines, or methods.

Origin of scholasticism

First recorded in 1750–60; scholastic + -ism
Related formsan·ti·scho·las·ti·cism, nounpro·scho·las·ti·cism, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for scholasticism

Historical Examples of scholasticism

British Dictionary definitions for scholasticism


  1. (sometimes capital) the system of philosophy, theology, and teaching that dominated medieval western Europe and was based on the writings of the Church Fathers and (from the 12th century) Aristotle
  2. strict adherence to traditional doctrines
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 scholasticism



1732, from scholastic + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

scholasticism in Culture


The philosophy and theology, marked by careful argumentation, that flourished among Christian thinkers in Europe during the Middle Ages.


Central to scholastic thought is the idea that reason and faith are compatible. Scholastic thinkers such as Thomas Aquinas tried to show that ancient philosophy, especially that of Aristotle, supported and illuminated Christian faith.
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.