noun com·mu·nism \ˈkäm-yə-ˌni-zəm, -yü-\

Definition of communism

  1. 1 a :  a theory advocating elimination of private property b :  a system in which goods are owned in common and are available to all as needed

  2. 2 capitalized a :  a doctrine based on revolutionary Marxian socialism and Marxism-Leninism that was the official ideology of the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics b :  a totalitarian system of government in which a single authoritarian party controls state-owned means of production c :  a final stage of society in Marxist theory in which the state has withered away and economic goods are distributed equitably d :  communist systems collectively

Examples of communism in a sentence

  1. On one side stood Hitler, fascism, the myth of German supremacy; on the other side stood Stalin, communism, and the international proletarian revolution. —Anne Applebaum, New York Review of Books, 25 Oct. 2007

  2. … I grew up in an idyllic midwestern town in the 1950's, when America was obsessed with the threat of communism. In Lawrence, Kansas, people felt the cold war as something real and very close. In the first grade, my teacher pointed to a giant orange blob on the map. That was Russia, Mrs. Postma announced. They were bigger than we were, and they were out to destroy us. —Sara Paretsky, Booklist, 1 May 2003

  3. Like me, he has lived his adult life in the context of the cold war. He was … in some sense always justified, at the back of his mind, by a concept of freedom, of America, that took sharpness from contrast with Communism. —John Updike, New York Times Book Review, 5 Aug. 1990

  4. Communism is a religion of the state, committed to the extinction of the Church. —Flannery O'Connor, The Habit Of Being, 1979

Origin and Etymology of communism

French communisme, from commun common

First Known Use: 1840

COMMUNISM Defined for English Language Learners


noun com·mu·nism \ˈkäm-yə-ˌni-zəm, -yü-\

Definition of communism for English Language Learners

  • : a way of organizing a society in which the government owns the things that are used to make and transport products (such as land, oil, factories, ships, etc.) and there is no privately owned property

COMMUNISM Defined for Kids


noun com·mu·nism \ˈkä-myə-ˌni-zəm\

Definition of communism for Students

  1. :  a social system or theory in which property and goods are held in common

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