1. the policy of protecting the interests of native inhabitants against those of immigrants.
  2. the policy or practice of preserving or reviving an indigenous culture.
  3. Philosophy. the doctrine that innate ideas exist.
  4. innateness hypothesis.


  1. mainly US the policy of favouring the natives of a country over the immigrants
  2. anthropol the policy of protecting and reaffirming native tribal cultures in reaction to acculturation
  3. the doctrine that the mind and its capacities are innately structured and that much knowledge is innate

n.U.S. anti-immigrant movement, 1845, from native (adj.) + -ism. Later used in other contexts. Related: Nativist.

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