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transcendentalism

[tran-sen-den-tl-iz-uh m, -suh n-]
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noun
  1. transcendental character, thought, or language.
  2. Also called transcendental philosophy. any philosophy based upon the doctrine that the principles of reality are to be discovered by the study of the processes of thought, or a philosophy emphasizing the intuitive and spiritual above the empirical: in the U.S., associated with Emerson.
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Origin of transcendentalism

From the German word Transcendentalismus, dating back to 1795–1805. See transcendental, -ism
Related formstran·scen·den·tal·ist, noun, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words

dreamervisionaryoptimistenthusiastromanticradicalescapistutopianstargazerseertranscendentalistromanticistPlatonistromancer

Examples from the Web for transcendentalist

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • Is he not a transcendentalist, at least in the German sense of the word?

    The Book of Khalid

    Ameen Rihani

  • Yet at heart Meckel was a transcendentalist of the German school.

    Form and Function

    E. S. (Edward Stuart) Russell

  • That is practical transcendentalism, and you are a transcendentalist.

  • But then he was a transcendentalist and an intellectual anarch.

    Iconoclasts

    James Huneker

  • I am, moreover, to be perfectly frank, a transcendentalist on the subject of marriage.

    At Large

    Arthur Christopher Benson


British Dictionary definitions for transcendentalist

transcendentalism

noun
    1. any system of philosophy, esp that of Kant, holding that the key to knowledge of the nature of reality lies in the critical examination of the processes of reason on which depends the nature of experience
    2. any system of philosophy, esp that of Emerson, that emphasizes intuition as a means to knowledge or the importance of the search for the divine
  1. vague philosophical speculation
  2. the state of being transcendental
  3. something, such as thought or language, that is transcendental
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Derived Formstranscendentalist, 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

Word Origin and History for transcendentalist

n.

1803, from transcendental + -ist.

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transcendentalism

n.

1803, in reference to Kant, later to Schelling; 1842 in reference to the New England religio-philosophical movement; from transcendental + -ism.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

transcendentalist in Culture

transcendentalism

A movement in nineteenth-century American literature and thought. It called on people to view the objects in the world as small versions of the whole universe and to trust their individual intuitions. The two most noted American transcendentalists were Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau.

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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.