Definition of minimalist in English:



  • 1A person who advocates or practises minimalism.

    • ‘He might even start to look like a serial modernist, or a kind of expressionistic minimalist.’
    • ‘In other words, Matta-Clark accomplishes with architecture an operation analogous to what the minimalists and the process artists accomplish with sculpture when they deprive it of its anthropomorphic and immortal aspects.’
    • ‘In its place shades of geometric minimalists, such as Josef Albers, were summoned.’
    • ‘Off ice, he listens to mostly classical music from the minimalists like Philipp Glass and Steve Reich to the romantics of Tchaikovsky.’
    • ‘Although his latter-day works have been compared to those of Arvo Part and Henryk Gorecki, both best-selling minimalists, Tavener's music is different because of its immediate sweet-sounding appeal.’
  • 2A person advocating moderate reform in politics.

    • ‘The minimalists claim that economic growth occurs when prices are right, a condition best achieved with little state action, for which they offer British and U.S. growth as proof.’
    • ‘Now, if libertarian minimalists do the latter, they would be taking issue with my policy views, not adopting them.’
    • ‘Rather than expanding our understanding of national phyches, the shows tend to confirm commonly held stereotypes - of Swedes as rampantly egalitarian minimalists, for example.’
    • ‘Libertarian minimalists must take the extra step to fashion a doctrine that debunks realism and supports their own foreign policy outlook.’
    • ‘As the referendum approached, longstanding splits between the minimalists and maximalists within the republican movement became significant.’


  • 1Relating to minimalism.

    • ‘The revolving structure of the melody brings to mind minimalist composers Steve Reich and Philip Glass in its apparent simplicity, but subtle complexity.’
    • ‘The beats on Revolutionary Vol.2 might seem a little minimalist to some, but Immortal is that caliber of emcee who needs no distractions when he's on the mic to make his words felt.’
    • ‘In the 1980s and 1990s, Torke's music was a synthesis of aggressive neo-classicism and minimalist influences, firmly rooted in tonality.’
    • ‘Bang on a Can often features, among other modern works, minimalist pieces by composers such as Steve Reich, Philip Glass, and the relatively young Mr Lang.’
    • ‘In recent times, even minimalist composer Philip Glass tried his hand at the genre.’
    1. 1.1 Lacking decoration or adornment; deliberately simple or basic in design or style.
      ‘his recently renovated minimalist Conran kitchen’
      • ‘In keeping with Osho's philosophy of simplicity, this collection essentially is minimalist in design, the emphasis being on simplicity of line and form.’
      • ‘And here's how it looked in the original, intentionally minimalist TPM design I whipped up that afternoon.’
      • ‘Vases of every shape and design, minimalist masks that look like faces and vice-versa, and numerous experiments with geometry confront the visitor.’
      • ‘The contemporary design reflects the more minimalist attitude in some of the more modern gardens where you are more likely to find steel and copper used in sleek water features, than traditional fountains or garden ponds.’
      • ‘A business-like reception area sets the tone for a spacious, minimalist style throughout that is soothing rather than intimidating.’
      • ‘The lean, minimalist design is refreshingly at odds with the usual run of touristy alpine decoration and furnishings featured at other ski resort hotels.’
      • ‘The space, quite literally a white cube, was designed by acclaimed minimalist architect Claudio Silvestrin.’
      • ‘The hotel as a whole has a remarkable interior: heavy dark wood and marble prevail in a rather stern, minimalist style that takes us back to the early 20th century.’
      • ‘The issue lacked the cohesion (although it tried its best to have it) achieved by Gutierrez's minimalist designs.’
      • ‘This almost minimalist design is simple, in contrast with the bourgeois interiors of Prague's past.’
      • ‘Jill's ceramics are unfussy with clean, with minimalist lines and simple curves.’
      • ‘But what made Maya Lin's minimalist design so appropriate was that it was commemorating the dead of a war that many Americans opposed and that we lost.’
      • ‘John McGowan's space may be a little larger but the minimalist style of small desk, computer station, neat cupboard space and obligatory plant is mirroring that of other employees.’
      • ‘If you are thinking of investing in a home gym, do it in style with Furnite's minimalist designs.’
      • ‘Perhaps it does not dare make a virtue out of modernity and reinvent its interior in an honest minimalist style, so it serves up spadeloads of fake heritage instead.’
      • ‘Might sound cheesy but its cooler than you think, with a simple minimalist design that keeps scene locals and interested tourists more than happy.’
      • ‘The next morning, fourteen hours later, they're still sitting there, completely destroying the whole minimalist design shtick.’
      • ‘A design queen, a minimalist restaurant, a plate of devilled kidneys and Bryan Ferry… Anthony Quinn finds the cutting edge of chic quite challenging’
      • ‘Every floor is predominantly open-plan and decorated in minimalist style using concrete and stone, and pale grey suede furniture.’
      • ‘The interior is split over two levels, both designed in a minimalist style, and a highlight here is the availability of absinthe.’
      practical, useful, utilitarian, utility, workaday, serviceable
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  • 2Advocating moderate political reform.

    • ‘A no vote in France would also put pressure on Mr Blair to find acceptable minimalist reforms or see the EU evolve into a diffuse multi-speed bloc.’
    • ‘The survival of civil society - of even a minimalist welfare state cannot be guaranteed if the state loses its capacity to collect tax.’
    • ‘Accounts of European social policy generally still present a minimalist interpretation of EU involvement.’
    • ‘My concern is that the Government did not take the opportunity to make some other changes to the bill at the time, and only took a very minimalist approach when it looked at making alterations.’
    • ‘I was a bit surprised to hear New Zealand First's Brian Donnelly say that the Government had behaved in a minimalist way in terms of the board.’
    • ‘While the Court is clearly very reluctant to refuse EC law recognition to a principle which is important in a number of Member States, it has never expressly endorsed either a maximalist or a minimalist approach.’
    • ‘They are people such as Anthony, a recent graduate from a British university, who is horrified that even the minimalist Kyoto agreement has been rejected by the world's biggest polluter, the United States.’
    • ‘During the postwar period, neoliberals have generally portrayed ‘free market’ countries as adhering to minimalist conceptions of the state.’
    • ‘Appalled by judicial activism, he advocated a classical, minimalist role for the court after the tumult of the 1960s.’
    • ‘Even with a minimalist interpretation of democracy, the democratic concept of sovereignty would make a huge difference to the way we conduct world affairs.’
    • ‘Liberal thought depends on the strength of this protective function to justify its advocacy of the minimalist state.’
    • ‘All they had done, in reality, was to fight over the principle of republicanism and then endorse the minimalist head of state selection model from the Republic Advisory Committee Report.’
    • ‘That statement was minimalist enough not to unduly anger ordinary Germans but was accepted and transformed by Israel to serve its own domestic and international political purposes.’
    • ‘The embedded liberalism of the early post War decades gave way to the unadulterated neo-classical economic policies which favoured a minimalist state and an enhanced role for the market.’
    • ‘The libertarian view is minimalist in its approach to criminalization: a person should be free to act in any way he/she chooses, unless his or her behavior victimizes others.’
    • ‘I previously blogged on the Right Coast about the minimalist conception of federalism that appeared to animate Justice O'Connor's vote in that case.’
    • ‘Hyperglobalizers insist that the minimalist political order of the future will be determined by regional economies linked together in an almost seamless global web of production and exchange.’
    • ‘The two formulae are only indicative of the maximalist and minimalist position.’
    • ‘This too is consistent with Poole's other writings, which advocate focused and even minimalist employment of firepower - both from a moral and a practical standpoint.’
    • ‘It flows from the principle of autonomy and the minimalist notion of welfare already developed in Chapter 2 above.’


Early 20th century: first used with reference to the Russian Mensheviks. Usage in art and music dates from the 1960s.