egalitarianism

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noun egal·i·tar·i·an·ism \i-ˌga-lə-ˈter-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm\

Definition of egalitarianism

  1. 1 :  a belief in human equality especially with respect to social, political, and economic affairs

  2. 2 :  a social philosophy advocating the removal of inequalities among people

The Roots of egalitarianism

Egalitarianism comes to the English language from the French. We fashioned egalitarian from their égalitaire “egalitarian” (which comes from the Latin aequalitas “equality”), and then added our -ism to it. The word first appeared in English in the late 19th century; our current earliest citation is from 1874, in The Times of India: “Before the Revolution the officers of one regiment welcomed brother corps with champagne suppers, but egalitarianism has brought us down to punch at five francs the bowl. . . ." The word has seen a subtle shift in meaning. Its earliest use was typically in reference to a belief in human equality; it has since taken on the sense “a social philosophy that advocates the removal of inequality among people.”

1874

First Known Use of egalitarianism

1874



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