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Pragmatism is a word that was coined in the 1870s. We will examine the definition of the word pragmatism, where it came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

Pragmatism is a philosophical approach to a situation that considers the worth of an idea, belief or strategy based on its successful application. Pragmatism approaches problems in a practical manner based on results, rather than by applying esoteric theories and principles. The word pragmatism was coined in the United States in the 1870s to describe a philosophical movement focusing on resolutions of problems and ideas in a practical manner, rather than debating ideas simply for the sake of debate. The word pragmatism is derived from the Greek word pragma which means deed, a thing that has been done, and -ism, a suffix that is used to make a noun. Related words are pragmatist, pragmatic.


International Development Secretary Penny Mordaunt accused Michel Barnier of lacking pragmatism as diplomats warned his hardline stance could drive Britain away from talks. (The Daily Mail)

China’s Global Times has praised UK prime minister Theresa May for her pragmatism in refusing to comment publicly on China’s human rights record and the erosion of autonomy in Hong Kong during her three-day visit. (The Irish Times)

The Nicola Yoon book centers on Natasha, a girl in New York City whose pragmatism is challenged when she falls in love right before her family is set to be deported back to Jamaica. (The Hollywood Reporter)

Jonathan Hopper, managing director of Garrington Property Finders, comments: “Buyers should be wary of overpaying, and sellers need to be pragmatic in their pricing if they are to achieve a sale to Britain’s committed but vigilant buyers.” (Moneywise Magazine)