from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. The condition or quality of being primitive.
  • n. The style characteristic of a primitive artist.
  • n. A belief that it is best to live simply and in a natural environment.
  • n. A belief that the acquisitions of civilization are evil or that the earliest period of human history was the best.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. The state or quality of being primitive
  • n. The opinion that life was better or more moral among primitive peoples, or among children, and has deteriorated with civilization
  • n. Any of a group of related styles in the arts, influenced by a belief in the superiority of primitive forms

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a genre characteristic of (or imitative of) primitive artists or children
  • n. a wild or unrefined state


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

primitive +‎ -ism


  • One of the strong currents found within the avant-garde art movement was that of a certain fascination with "primitivism", which looked to non-European sources for inspiration and which was significantly rooted in a rejection of more traditional Western forms of art.

    Continuity, Beauty and Dignity within the Liturgical Arts and their Development

  • For decades, we have not wanted to know, because it sounded too much like the old colonialist claims of African "primitivism", used as an excuse by our ancestors to pillage the continent's resources.

    Johann Hari: Witch-Hunt: The Hidden War on African Women

  • It's called 'primitivism' when the ancient source comes from the apostolic age.

    URGENT The "Reform of the Reform" is in motion

  • I can understand though I totally disagree people hating Starbuck's ending, wilful "primitivism" decision, 150000-years jump, but why there is such a whining going on about the role of the religion?

    Open Thread: #422-423 Daybreak Part 2

  • To Rinder, modern art's grandest project has been tearing down boundaries -- between "primitivism" and Western art in Picasso, between high culture and low in pop art, and so on.


  • A luxurious "primitivism" of a safari camp, when you sleep on huge beds equipped with space-age technology matresses but in apparently primitive tents, when hordes of servants cater to your whim, but you never even glimpse their stoves, refrigerators, satelite communication devices etc, so that you can enjoy your "primitivism", while great fun, is definitively not the answer.

    Page 2

  • The black film experience hasn't seen this kind of primitivism since Oscar Micheaux.

    New York Press

  • And not so long ago, an exhibition such as this would have felt obliged to point this out, to provide long wall texts explaining that modern art's "primitivism" was the racist culture of an age of empire.

    Culture |

  • Using silly terms such as primitivism, for example, to explain Communist policy and the peasant component of their rural revolution, will not lead to much of an understanding of how they brought nothing short of disaster, and widespread, unnecessary and multi-formed suffering.

    Cambodia: Details are Sketchy

  • 'primitivism' would be put permanently and deservedly to rest.

    GreenCine Daily


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.