Definition of materialist in US English:



  • 1A person who considers material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.

    ‘greedy materialists lusting for consumer baubles’
    • ‘Even if some materialists swim through life with little distress, consumerism carries larger costs that are worth worrying about.’
    • ‘These fans are not simply materialists who celebrate the monetary value of their spoils.’
    • ‘Programmed into its computer software are 52 social rankings, including "clever capitalists," "rising materialists," and "rootless renters."’
    • ‘If we copied such a place, all we'd be left with is ugly glass and concrete and a bunch of greedy materialists.’
    • ‘There's a narrowing of the gap between materialists and non-materialists in life satisfaction as materialists' income rises.’
    • ‘We got the chance to peer into the minds and hearts of today's teens, both the materialists and the non-materialists.’
    • ‘"I am not a materialist," I protested hotly.’
    • ‘He is not only a minimalist, but a materialist.’
    • ‘He once observed that the commonly accepted idea that Americans are materialists is wrong.’
    • ‘They may just be greedy materialists lusting for consumer baubles.’
  • 2Philosophy
    A person who supports the theory that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.

    ‘an atheist and philosophical materialist’
    • ‘I regard those disagreements as far less serious than my disagreements with the Darwinian materialists.’
    • ‘That capacity is not merely self-consciousness, which can be explained away by materialists or reserved for a "spiritual soul" by Cartesian dualists.’
    • ‘With materialists, anything goes if it excludes God!’
    • ‘The materialists' philosophies have pretty much exploded.’
    • ‘If we are going to be good materialists, we must believe that situation determines consciousness.’
    • ‘There was a question about the structure of the cosmos that historically really did divide them from materialists and pagans.’
    • ‘Although the writings of scientific materialists are filled with hostility toward religious mystery, religious mystery has never acted as a brake upon scientific progress.’
    • ‘The greatest danger of our day does not arise from atheists and materialists.’
    • ‘Of course materialists won't give any truck to what God tells us in the Bible.’
    • ‘This way of thinking about God never shows up in the public debates between creationists and evolutionary materialists.’


  • 1Considering material possessions and physical comfort as more important than spiritual values.

    ‘a greedy materialist population’
    ‘his anger at social injustice and materialist greed’
    • ‘She suggests that both genres exploited a universalizing language of primitive myth to protest "contemporary materialist values and excessive individualism."’
    • ‘Fetishistic and glitzy, the work was intended to critique the ostentatious display of jewelry signifying materialist obsessions.’
    • ‘What the modernists of the 1920s and 1930s had wanted was a kind of materialist foothold that would sustain the progressive development of identity.’
    • ‘The links made between hidden personal psychosis and the materialist ethos of upper-middle-class society are marred by stylistic tics peculiar to the 1960s.’
    • ‘It's clear that his sympathies lie with the underdog in China's new materialist society.’
    • ‘We should consider putting aside our materialist obsession with size, not to say gross attendance figures, and turn to matters of what we now call "content."’
    • ‘What demanded resistance was their own imbrication in Cold War intrigues, worsened by state corruption and materialist excess.’
    • ‘Our materialist culture hysterically produces new marketable images and turns even crime, violence, and decadence into profit.’
    • ‘His immersion in her mall adventure is a succinct metaphor for the soul-damaging nature of materialist suburbia.’
    • ‘The simultaneous testing of avant-garde and materialist outlooks yielded equivocal results.’
  • 2Philosophy
    Relating to the theory that nothing exists except matter and its movements and modifications.

    ‘atheistic materialist philosophy’
    • ‘He always insisted on surrealism's being a materialist philosophy.’
    • ‘A materialist understanding is an essential step in liberating culture from the stranglehold of commodification.’
    • ‘The whole idea of representation is totally at odds with the structural/materialist ideology.’
    • ‘When love denies human compassion, love itself becomes part of a materialist schematism.’
    • ‘He has not fared well with the dominantly materialist disposition of evolutionary scientists and philosophers since his death.’
    • ‘He accords far more importance to the Dutch materialist philosopher Spinoza than is customary.’
    • ‘These are some of the reasons that "evolution" simulations in computers have no relevance to the materialist belief in molecules-to-man evolution.’
    • ‘He claims that Western science is often condemned as positivist, anti-holistic, strongly reductionist, and materialist.’
    • ‘These developments cry out for a materialist explanation.’
    • ‘He had seen the government install what he saw as a deplorable new godless and materialist proletarian state.’