Advertisement - Continue reading below

Definition of "descriptivism" []

  • The practice or application of descriptive linguistics, especially in the analysis of grammar. (noun)

American Heritage(R) Dictionary of the English Language, Fifth Edition. Copyright (c) 2011 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.

Use "descriptivism" in a sentence
  • "One problem that I have with descriptivism is that it gives us no idea as to what extent we should be tolerant of grammatical error."
  • "Or was someone indicating in a subtle way that descriptivism is replacing prescriptivism in the “On Language” column?"
  • "The trouble with descriptivism—the idea that the grammarian's job is to describe the language, not to issue judgments about propriety—isn't that it's theoretically unsound."