1748, "philosophy that nothing exists except matter" (from French matérialisme); see material (n.) + ism. As this naturally tended toward "opinion or tendency based upon purely material interests," it came to be used by late 19c. for any low view of life (opposed to idealism). As "a way of life based entirely on consumer goods," by 1930.
1540s, " of or pertaining to logical disputation, relating to the art of reasoning;" see dialectic + -al (1). From 1750 as "of or pertaining to a dialect." From 1788 as "of the nature of philosophical dialectic" (in reference to Kant, later to Hegel and Marx). Related: Dialectally. Dialectical materialism (by 1927) translates Marx's phrase.
1846, introduced by William Hamilton for "doctrine of the necessitarian philosophers" (who hold that human action is not free but necessarily determined by motives, regarded as external forces acting on the will or character of the person). See determine + -ism.
Determinism does not imply materialism, atheism, or a denial of moral responsibility; while it is in direct opposition to fatalism and to the doctrine of the freedom of the will. [Century Dictionary]
From 1876 in general sense of "doctrine that everything happens is determined by a necessary chain of causation," from French déterminisme, from German Determinismus, perhaps a back-formation from Praedeterminismus.
"principal street of a (U.S.) town," 1810, from main (adj.) + street. Used allusively to indicate "mediocrity, small-town materialism" from late 19c., a sense reinforced by the publication of Sinclair Lewis's novel "Main Street" (1920).
But a village in a country which is taking pains to become altogether standardized and pure, which aspires to succeed Victorian England as the chief mediocrity of the world, is no longer merely provincial, no longer downy and restful in its leaf-shadowed ignorance. It is a force seeking to dominate the earth, to drain the hills and sea of color, to set Dante at boosting Gopher Prairie, and to dress the high gods in Klassy Kollege Klothes. Sure of itself, it bullies other civilizations, as a traveling salesman in a brown derby conquers the wisdom of China and tacks advertisements of cigarettes over arches for centuries dedicate to the sayings of Confucius. ["Main Street"]
"philosophical doctrine or way of thinking which holds that phenomena are the only realities or objects of knowledge," 1856, in a Christian context (opposed to materialism), from phenomenal + -ism. Used earlier in the same sense was phenomenism (1830). Related: Phenomenalist (1856).
I AM about to try to explain a manner of thought which, in various applications, or perhaps misapplications, of it, I have been in the habit of mentally characterizing, and perhaps of speaking of, as 'positivism.' I shall now however not use this term, but the term 'phenomenalism.' I understand the two terms to express in substance the same thing .... The reason for the change is, because in the purely intellectual application which I shall now make of the term, ''phenomenalism' may perhaps carry with it less danger of extraneous associations being joined with it, and may express what I mean more generally .... [John Grote, "Rough Notes on Modern Intellectual Science," 1865]