verb, often capitalized bal·kan·ize \ˈbȯl-kə-ˌnīz\

Definition of balkanize




  1. transitive verb
  2. 1 :  to break up (a region, a group, etc.) into smaller and often hostile units opposes the partition of Germany, and holds that the economic consequences of Balkanizing the country would be serious — Times Literary Supplement

  3. 2 :  divide, compartmentalize now pop culture has been balkanized; it is full of niches, with different groups watching and playing their own things — Richard Corliss


play \ˌbȯl-kə-nə-ˈzā-shən\ noun, often capitalized

balkanize was our Word of the Day on 08/03/2014. Hear the podcast!

Did You Know?

The Balkan Peninsula of southeastern Europe is named for the Balkan Mountains, which stretch through Bulgaria from its western border with Serbia to the Black Sea. (Balkan derives from a Turkish word that means "mountain.") The region known as the Balkans is commonly thought to include Albania, Greece, Romania, the European portion of Turkey, and often surrounding areas. The decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century led to a series of revolts that accelerated the fracturing of the region into a number of smaller states whose unstable coexistence led to violence that came to a head in World War I. Since 1919, balkanize and its related noun, balkanization have come to refer to the kind of divisive action that can weaken countries or groups, as well as other things.

Origin and Etymology of balkanize

Balkan Peninsula

First Known Use: 1918

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