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From The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.48:
Naturalism \Nat"u*ral*ism\, n. [Cf. F. naturalisme.] 1. A state of nature; conformity to nature. [1913 Webster] 2. (Metaph.) The doctrine of those who deny a supernatural agency in the miracles and revelations recorded in the Bible, and in spiritual influences; also, any system of philosophy which refers the phenomena of nature to a blind force or forces acting necessarily or according to fixed laws, excluding origination or direction by one intelligent will. [1913 Webster] 3. The theory that art or literature should conform to nature; realism; also, the quality, rendering, or expression of art or literature executed according to this theory. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 4. Specifically: The principles and characteristics professed or represented by a 19th-century school of realistic writers, notably by Zola and Maupassant, who aimed to give a literal transcription of reality, and laid special stress on the analytic study of character, and on the scientific and experimental nature of their observation of life. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]