9 Grammatical Pitfalls


[sen-sey-shuh-nl-iz-uh m] /sɛnˈseɪ ʃə nlˌɪz əm/
subject matter, language, or style producing or designed to produce startling or thrilling impressions or to excite and please vulgar taste.
the use of or interest in this subject matter, language, or style:
The cheap tabloids relied on sensationalism to increase their circulation.
  1. the doctrine that the good is to be judged only by the gratification of the senses.
  2. the doctrine that all ideas are derived from and are essentially reducible to sensations.
Psychology, sensationism.
Origin of sensationalism
1840-50; sensational + -ism
Related forms
sensationalist, noun, adjective
sensationalistic, adjective
nonsensationalistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the web for sensationalism
  • In general, the crowding of the market encourages shallow sensationalism, not consideration and depth.
  • sensationalism and speculation aside, no company is free of bad employees, or poor managers for that matter.
  • Great article, informative and free of any sensationalism.
  • His weaknesses are for sentimentality and sensationalism.
  • Yes, it's a crazy thing, but she's not interested in sensationalism.
  • Look began as a tabloid-style magazine that emphasized sports, movie stars, and sensationalism.
  • Consideration should be given to the potential for public concern and misunderstanding and sensationalism.
  • The public is bombarded by falsehoods and sensationalism.
  • Today's hearing is not meant to focus blame, or to concentrate on tragedies for the sake of sensationalism.
  • They take statements out of context, don't bother to check facts, and care only about sensationalism.
British Dictionary definitions for sensationalism


the use of sensational language, etc, to arouse an intense emotional response
such sensational matter itself
(philosophy) Also called sensualism
  1. the doctrine that knowledge cannot go beyond the analysis of experience
  2. (ethics) the doctrine that the ability to gratify the senses is the only criterion of goodness
(psychol) the theory that all experience and mental life may be explained in terms of sensations and remembered images
(aesthetics) the theory of the beauty of sensuality in the arts
Also called (for senses 3, 4) sensationism
Derived Forms
sensationalist, noun, adjective
sensationalistic, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for sensationalism

1846 in philosophy, "theory that sensation is the only source of knowledge;" 1865, of journalism that aims to excite the feelings, from sensational + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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