One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
historical Geology. A person who believes that the geological past can be explained in terms of processes observable in the present; a proponent of actualism. Compare "uniformitarian". Now chiefly historical.
Chiefly Philosophy. A person who advocates the theory that only what is actual exists; a proponent of actualism.
Philosophy and Geology. Characterized by or advocating actualism.
Mid 19th century. From actual + -ist, probably after French actualiste.
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