col·​lec·​tiv·​ism | \kə-ˈlek-ti-ˌvi-zəm \

Definition of collectivism 

1 : a political or economic theory advocating collective control especially over production and distribution also : a system marked by such control

2 : emphasis on collective rather than individual action or identity

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Other Words from collectivism

collectivist \ kə-​ˈlek-​ti-​vist \ adjective or noun
collectivistic \ kə-​ˌlek-​ti-​ˈvi-​stik \ adjective
collectivistically \ kə-​ˌlek-​ti-​ˈvi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē \ adverb

Examples of collectivism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

The tension was expressed in popular media as a defense of American individualism against the power and efficacy of Japanese collectivism and corporate culture. Lindsay Grace, Smithsonian, "The Original ‘Space Invaders’ is an Icon of 1970s America’s Deepest Fears," 19 June 2018 Radical collectivism would replace property-owning democracy. The Economist, "Don’t shrink the role of markets—expand it," 10 May 2018 Obstacles to the creative process litter the Chinese education landscape: Domineering teachers who discourage open questioning; exam metrics that keep children studying rather than exploring; social collectivism that promotes conformity. Jay Mathews, Washington Post, "Lessons in learning: Mao, a piñata and a 3-year-old American in Shanghai," 10 Sep. 2017 Such tragedies and destruction are prime examples of how American collectivism and cohesion is often formed in fire or water. Phillip Morris,, "Sparring over the American Flag isn't the way forward: Phillip Morris," 10 Sep. 2017 This fight between collectivism and individualism, the rights of the worker and the rights of the owner, have been part of America since the country’s founding, Bailey says. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The Coal Mining Massacre America Forgot," 25 Apr. 2017 After all, nearly every post-war Western to that point had dramatized the conflict between virtuous, democratic individualism and authoritarian collectivism in one way or another. Michael Auslin, National Review, "The Last Great American Western Turns 25," 3 Aug. 2017 Collectivism is the belief that everything produced really belongs to everybody, and the government’s job is to distribute it fairly. Susan Shelley, Orange County Register, "World is starving for the ingenuity of free-market agribusiness," 21 Jan. 2017 The festival orchestra concert, in its own way, offered testimony to the communal benefits of collectivism. Anthony Tommasini, New York Times, "Review: ‘The public domain’ Beats the Heat and Humidity," 14 Aug. 2016

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'collectivism.' 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 collectivism

1857, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of collectivism was in 1857

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English Language Learners Definition of collectivism

: a political or economic system in which the government owns businesses, land, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on collectivism

See words that rhyme with collectivism Encyclopedia article about collectivism

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