colonialism

noun co·lo·nial·ism \ kə-ˈlō-nē-ə-ˌli-zəm , -nyə-ˌli- \
Updated on: 8 Nov 2017

Definition of colonialism

1 :the quality or state of being colonial
2 :something characteristic of a colony
3 a :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.

colonialist

play \kə-ˈlō-nē-ə-list, -nyə-list\ noun or adjective

colonialistic

play \kə-ˌlō-nē-ə-ˈli-stik, -nyə-ˈli-\ adjective

Recent Examples of colonialism from the Web

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.

Origin and Etymology of colonialism

see colony


COLONIALISM Defined for English Language Learners

colonialism

noun

Definition of colonialism for English Language Learners

  • : control by one country over another area and its people



Seen and Heard

What made you want to look up colonialism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!

WORD OF THE DAY

ditzy

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Find the Cousins

  • a-large-tree-with-many-branches
  • Which pair shares a common word ancestor?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!