Definition of deconstruction in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˌdēkənˈstrəkSHən/


A method of critical analysis of philosophical and literary language that emphasizes the internal workings of language and conceptual systems, the relational quality of meaning, and the assumptions implicit in forms of expression.

Deconstruction focuses on a text as such rather than as an expression of the author’s intention, stressing the limitlessness (or impossibility) of interpretation and rejecting the Western philosophical tradition of seeking certainty through reasoning by privileging certain types of interpretation and repressing others. It was effectively named and popularized by the French philosopher Jacques Derrida from the late 1960s and taken up particularly by US literary critics.

Example sentences
  • In philosophical terms, deconstruction is a form of relativist scepticism in the tradition of Nietzsche.
  • Derrida has two main ways of exposing these textual interplays, deconstruction and double reading.
  • Alas, these are the only two texts critical of deconstruction that I have ever found that also understand it.



Pronunciation: /-ˌnizəm/
Example sentences
  • From the dialectic materialism of Hegel to the deconstructionism of Jacques Derrida, these traditions distinguished themselves from the Anglo-American schools of analytic thought in both their content and their methodologies.
  • He has criticized liberal Protestantism, Marxism, Hegelianism, naturalism and deconstructionism.
  • Pinker talks about relativism, social constructivism, science studies, cultural studies, critical theory, postmodernism, and deconstructionism.


Pronunciation: /ˌdēk(ə)nˈstrəkSH(ə)nəst/
adjective& noun
Example sentences
  • He typifies as absurd the post-modern, deconstructionist school of literary criticism, which dismisses the importance of authorship or authorial intention, thus allowing a text to be read and interpreted in any way.
  • While reality is not so subjective as postmodern philosophers and deconstructionist literary critics would have us believe, the words we use can have a powerful effect.
  • His solution, in so far as it is meant to be that, lies in what has become in recent years one of his most celebrated views, thanks to its being so congenial to deconstructionists.


Late 19th century (originally in the general sense 'taking to pieces'): from de- (expressing reversal) + construction.

For editors and proofreaders

Syllabification: de·con·struc·tion

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