co·lo·nial·ism | \ kə-ˈlō-nē-ə-ˌli-zəm , -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, -nyə-list \ noun or adjective
colonialistic \kə-ˌlō-nē-ə-ˈli-stik, -nyə-ˈli- \ adjective

Examples of colonialism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

For fans like Dubois, what matters during the World Cup is the game, and its ability to allow players and countries to forget sins and scars of colonialism, war or persecution, and dream together of a triumphant future. Fox News, "Migration, outreach mean diversity is soccer's new normal," 10 July 2018 The exclusion has historical roots: Following orientalist stereotypes shored up under colonialism, the veiled and covered-up Muslim woman became the exemplar of oppressed persons. Rafia Zakaria, The New Republic, "The Feminist Future of Modesty," 12 June 2018 Every Korean did not agree that Japanese colonialism had its upside. Author: Avi Selk, Anchorage Daily News, "NBC apologizes to Koreans for Olympics coverage that praised Japan's brutal occupation," 12 Feb. 2018 Books on history and the social sciences supported eugenics at home and colonialism abroad. Alfred Brophy, Fortune, "Commentary: Why Haven’t Publishers Apologized for Their Books That Glorify Slavery?," 2 Feb. 2018 With the end of British colonialism and World War II, most of the community moved abroad, leaving behind a smattering of synagogues, cemeteries and schools, as well as a small hospital and a number of streets named after Jews. Michael David Lukas, New York Times, "From Cairo to Kolkata, Traces of a Vibrant Jewish Past," 8 June 2018 But if anything, the vast history of British colonialism make his book’s problems even bigger. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Does Crafting Make People Happier?," 9 Apr. 2018 After all, parts of African American culture are rooted in a land some of them will never know thanks to colonialism, imperialism and slavery. Tre'vell Anderson,, "Why 'Black Panther' is Ryan Coogler’s most personal film to date," 15 Feb. 2018 The aura of Mandela is that of turning the other cheek to historical injustice—the ills of colonialism, of oppression, of exploitation. Peter Godwin, WSJ, "Mandela’s Troubled Legacy," 13 July 2018

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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Last Updated

9 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for colonialism

The first known use of colonialism was in 1864

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English Language Learners Definition of colonialism

: control by one country over another area and its people

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

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alleviating pain or harshness

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