[ teks-choo-uh-liz-uhm ]

  1. strict adherence to a text, especially of the Scriptures.

  2. Law. the doctrine that a legal document or statute should be interpreted by determining the relatively objective ordinary meaning of its words and phrases, without regard to historical context or legislative history: Textualism holds, that when applying the law, the words of the Constitution itself are to be the final authority.: See also originalism.

Origin of textualism

First recorded in 1860–65; textual + -ism

Words Nearby textualism

Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use textualism in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for textualism


/ (ˈtɛkstjʊəˌlɪzəm) /

  1. doctrinaire adherence to a text, esp of the Bible

  2. textual criticism, esp of the Bible

Derived forms of textualism

  • textualist, 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