co·​lo·​nial·​ism | \ kə-ˈlō-nē-ə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce colonialism (audio) , -nyə-ˌli- \

Definition of colonialism

1 : the quality or state of being colonial
2 : something characteristic of a colony
3a : control by one power over a dependent area or people the colonialism of the British Empire
b : a policy advocating or based on such control Colonialism was brought to an end in the country.

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Other Words from colonialism

colonialist \ kə-​ˈlō-​nē-​ə-​list How to pronounce colonialist (audio) , -​nyə-​list \ noun or adjective
colonialistic \ kə-​ˌlō-​nē-​ə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce colonialistic (audio) , -​nyə-​ˈli-​ \ adjective

Examples of colonialism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web The culprits are colonialism, then Western domination and the Yahud, the Jew. Josef Joffe, WSJ, "‘Black Wave’ Review: Islam Against Itself," 27 Jan. 2020 Nor was there an effort to understand the country's traumatic past or reflect on the legacies of colonialism. James Griffiths, CNN, "The West turned Aung San Suu Kyi into a saint. She was always going to disappoint," 13 Dec. 2019 In France it was seen as a critique of dog-eat-dog capitalism; in China as a comment on the weak heart of colonialism. The Economist, "Obituary: Huang Yong Ping died on October 20th," 7 Nov. 2019 Google Street View appeared, at first, as an obvious invasion of privacy, not to mention an act of hubris with an undercurrent of colonialism. Joanne Mcneil, Harper's magazine, "Search and Destroy," 20 Jan. 2020 Stevens) represent opposing responses to the crisis of colonialism. Jason Herbert, Smithsonian Magazine, "What Were the Best History Movies of the Decade?," 31 Dec. 2019 The point of it all, Jamie tells us, was not about finding treasure to display; the discoveries helped revitalize pride and traditional skills that had been lost to colonialism and missionary zeal. Nancy Lord, Anchorage Daily News, "From Quinhagak to Scotland, archaeology reveals meaning in new book of essays," 2 Nov. 2019 Instead of looking to Morocco, this one trots out vadouvan, a spice blend that trended earlier this decade with roots that trace back to French colonialism in India. Los Angeles Times, "What’s missing at vegan Nic’s on Beverly? Creative, exciting cooking," 17 Oct. 2019 Relying on the privileged classes to set the social agenda during divisive times harkens back to the colonialism that the U.S. revolted against in 1776, warned Chiara Cordelli, a political science professor at the University of Chicago. Michael Liedtke,, "Crusading Salesforce founder Marc Benioff aims to prove CEOs can be activists too," 4 Oct. 2019

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

1864, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for colonialism

see colony

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Time Traveler for colonialism

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The first known use of colonialism was in 1864

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Last Updated

25 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Colonialism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 28 Feb. 2020.

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How to pronounce colonialism (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of colonialism

: control by one country over another area and its people

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Rhyming Dictionary: Words that rhyme with colonialism

Britannica English: Translation of colonialism for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about colonialism

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