noun[mass noun] Philosophy
- the doctrine that universals or general ideas are mere names without any corresponding reality. Only particular objects exist, and properties, numbers, and sets are merely features of the way of considering the things that exist. Important in medieval scholastic thought, nominalism is associated particularly with William of Occam. Often contrasted with realism (sense 3).
mid 19th century: from French nominalisme, from nominal 'relating to names' (see nominal)