an·​ar·​chism | \ˈa-nər-ˌki-zəm, -ˌnär-\

Definition of anarchism 

1 : a political theory holding all forms of governmental authority to be unnecessary and undesirable and advocating a society based on voluntary cooperation and free association of individuals and groups

2 : the advocacy or practice of anarchistic principles

Examples of anarchism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Photo: Alexei Druzhinin/Planet Pix/ZUMA PRESS Few foreigners display the devotion of Mr. Monson, a longtime adherent of socialism and anarchism whose many tattoos include a hammer and sickle. James Marson, WSJ, "An American Heavyweight Infiltrates Russian Politics—and the Russians Are All for It," 30 Sep. 2018 William Godwin, her father, founded philosophical anarchism; Mary Wollstonecraft, her mother, was an early feminist who wrote The Vindication of the Rights of Women., "The True Story Behind Mary Shelley Is Actual 19th Century Rock & Roll," 24 May 2018 William Godwin, an early advocate of anarchism, survived a great deal longer. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Poor Mary Shelley!," 23 May 2018 The murder mystery becomes entangled, at times awkwardly, with larger social issues like unionism, anarchism and the women’s suffrage movement. Marilyn Stasio, New York Times, "A Politician With Real Killer Instincts," 4 May 2018 Le Guin was a feminist and an environmentalist with deep interests in anarchism and taoism. Lincoln Michel, GQ, "Ursula K. Le Guin Was Our Greatest Science Fiction Writer," 25 Jan. 2018 Then, as now, the threats of anarchism and terrorism fuelled anti-immigrant feeling. The Economist, "Restless soulJoseph Conrad, the first novelist of globalisation," 2 Nov. 2017 Many are involved in other causes, such as socialism or anarchism. Cameron Mcwhirter, WSJ, "How Antifa Violence Has Split the Left," 19 Sep. 2017 Despite the branding, Ballad is perhaps best described as a book-length explanation of how the famous prisoner Serge came to serve his first sentence: anarchism. Malcolm Harris, New Republic, "The Crime Wave that Gave Anarchists a Bad Name," 24 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'anarchism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of anarchism

1642, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Statistics for anarchism

Last Updated

15 Nov 2018

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The first known use of anarchism was in 1642

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English Language Learners Definition of anarchism

: a belief that government and laws are not necessary

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Comments on anarchism

What made you want to look up anarchism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


something that serves to warn or remind

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