• (GA) IPA: /məˈtɪɹiəlɪzəm/
  • (RP) IPA: /məˈtɪəɹiəlɪzəm/


  1. Constant concern over material possessions and wealth; a great or excessive regard for worldly concerns.
    • 2010, Nuala O'Faolain, A More Complex Truth, "An Ugly Little War":
      We accept that a third of the population live on the poverty line. We accept that only a handful of the most exceptional of the children of the poor will make it through to a third-level education. We accept massive examples of greed and dishonesty in public life. We except the values of materialism. What do we expect then—to be left un-harassed, we who have all the privileges?
  2. (philosophy) The philosophical belief that nothing exists beyond what is physical.
    • 1814, Joseph Stevens Buckminster, The Sermons by the Late Rev. Joseph S. Buckminster, Sermon I:
      The result of the labours of philosophy appeared to be a total scepticism on the most important subjects of hu man duty and expectation. The irregular fears of a future state had been supplanted by the materialism of Epicurus; and this system—if system it may be called, which left them without a God, a providence, a morality, or a retribution—was the fashionable philosophy of the more cultivated classes.
    • 1902, William James, The Varieties of Religious Experience, Lecture I:
      Medical materialism seems indeed a good appellation for the too simple-minded system of thought which we are considering. ... All such mental over-tensions, it says, are, when you come to the bottom of the matter, mere affairs of diathesis (auto-intoxications most probably), due to the perverted action of various glands which physiology will yet discover.
  3. (obsolete, rare) Material substances in the aggregate; matter.
  • (philosophy) physicalism
  • (philosophy) philosophical materialism
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