One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Philosophy. The doctrine that only what is actual exists, and hence entities which are only possible do not exist; belief in the importance of the actual.
2Realism in description or representation; = "actuality".
3Geology. The theory or principle that changes in the geological past can be explained in terms of processes observable in the present. Compare actualist. Now chiefly historical.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Brownson's Quarterly Review. From actual + -ism.
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