One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
A tendency towards dealing with material or worldly matters; empiricism; naturalism, realism.
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Thomas Carlyle (1795–1881), author, biographer, and historian. From classical Latin dēscendent-, dēscendēns, present participle of dēscendere descend + -al + -ism, after transcendentalism.
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