see usage paragraph below
: domination of a people or area by a foreign state or nation : the practice of extending and maintaining a nation's political and economic control over another people or area
While the word colonialism is sometimes considered to encompass non-state forms of influence and domination, as by corporate or religious entities, in general use it is more typically understood as an extension of state power.
… The United States was a product of colonialism by mass migrations, and it was the colonialists themselves who created the country; India and China were victims of an extractive colonialism that drained away national wealth.—Manjari Miller Africa's push for independence from colonialism, which mirrored [Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s] movement for racial equality in America, attracted his support.—Rodney Muhumuza While the primary colonial identification for Jamaicans was English, American colonialism was a strong force in my childhood—and of course continues today. We were sent American movies and American music. American aluminum companies had already discovered bauxite on the island and were shipping the ore to their mainland. United Fruit bought our bananas.—Michelle Cliff
: the policy of or belief in acquiring and retaining colonies
We want to discover how that era evolved and how the paternalistic attitude of colonialism manifested itself.—Chris Vieler-Porter
: the quality or state of being a colony or of behaving like a colony
A new generation had to come upon the stage before our politics were finally taken out of colonialism and made national and American … . It was the foresight and the courage of [President George] Washington which at the outset placed the United States in their relations with foreign nations on the ground of a firm, independent, and American policy.—Henry Cabot Lodge
: something (such as a custom, idea, or idiom) that is characteristic of a colony
Colonialism in this use can refer to something that is learned from the colonizing power or that distinguishes the people of a colony from the colonizing power.
Americans shed their colonialisms one by one, for political colonialism was merely the first to go. … Many Americans still felt inferior to Englishmen in their language, and a strong jolt was necessary to dislodge that last colonialism.—Allen Walker Read American lexicographer Noah Webster, in his dictionaries of the early 1800s, "wanted an American language," [John] Taylor said. Webster included such uniquely American words as woodchuck and caucus, which were seen by unapproving British reviewers as "vulgar colonialisms."—Elizabeth Williams
noun or adjective
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