Definition of nativism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈneɪtɪvɪz(ə)m/


[mass noun]
1The theory that concepts, mental capacities, and mental structures are innate rather than acquired by learning.
Example sentences
  • But history leads me to agree with the author that nativism and racism are powerful populist impulses pretty much everywhere.
  • He initiates the central skirmish of this book by tracing a dividing line between Chomsky's nativism and the so-called New Synthesis Psychology.
2chiefly US The policy of protecting the interests of native-born or established inhabitants against those of immigrants.
Example sentences
  • Nineteenth-century common-school advocates combined a desire for creating a liberal democratic citizenry with xenophobia, anti-Catholicism, and nativism.
  • Nonetheless, this era had the same conflicts (over cultural diversity and nativism, for example) as later periods, and established lasting policies toward immigrants and aliens.
  • There will be a spasm of nativism and anti-immigrant feelings that we have not seen in a long time.
3A return to or emphasis on indigenous customs, in opposition to outside influences.
Example sentences
  • Multiculturalism stands as the heir to nineteenth-century nativism not by any explicit hostility to Catholicism, but rather through its explicit, if sometimes obtuse, hostility to culture.



noun& adjective
Example sentences
  • But such talk inflamed nativists, and they and their Catholic foes were juggled by the various political parties from mid-century onward.
  • The immigrant-bashing nativists will battle the free marketeers.
  • We see echoes of this perspective in the writings of Noam Chomsky and Jerry Fodor, self-identified nativists.


Example sentences
  • The white slave panic of 1909-10 provoked an even more irrational and nativistic wave of government intrusiveness.
  • Their nativistic posture that the ‘indigenous peoples put themselves on the map’ would erase the essential role of the researcher through their politicized rhetoric.
  • Such antipathy, especially toward strong forms of bilingual education, is rooted in nativistic and melting pot ideologies that tend to demonize the ‘other.’
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