he·​ge·​mo·​ny | \ hi-ˈje-mə-nē How to pronounce hegemony (audio) , -ˈge- How to pronounce hegemony (audio) ; ˈhe-jə-ˌmō-nē \

Definition of hegemony

1 : preponderant influence or authority over others : domination battled for hegemony in Asia
2 : the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group

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Other Words from hegemony

hegemonic \ ˌhe-​jə-​ˈmä-​nik How to pronounce hegemony (audio) , ˌhe-​gə-​ \ adjective

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Hegemony comes to English from the Greek hēgemonia, a noun formed from the verb hēgeisthai ("to lead"), which also gave us the word exegesis ("exposition" or "explanation"). The word was first used in English in the mid-16th century in reference to the control once wielded by the ancient Greek states, and it was reapplied in later centuries as other nations subsequently rose to power. By the 20th century, it had acquired a second sense referring to the social or cultural influence wielded by a dominant member over others of its kind, such as the domination within an industry by a business conglomerate over smaller businesses.

Examples of hegemony in a Sentence

… the very concept of "scientific truth" can only represent a social construction invented by scientists (whether consciously or not) as a device to justify their hegemony over the study of nature. — Stephen Jay Gould, Science, 14 Jan. 2000 When Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, in June of 1941, distracted Japan's traditional rival for hegemony in East Asia, Japanese expansionists saw a historic opportunity. — David M. Kennedy, Atlantic, March 1999 If mermaids had ceased to challenge scientific hegemony, other similarly mythological creatures rushed in to fill their places in Victorian hearts and minds. — Harriet Ritvo, The Platypus and the Mermaid, 1997 They discussed the national government's hegemony over their tribal community. European intellectuals have long debated the consequences of the hegemony of American popular culture around the world.
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Recent Examples on the Web For Carlson, the vaccine is a potent metaphor for the creeping hegemony of Democratic elites. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 16 Sep. 2021 In the mid-1970s, the irreverent upstart movement Pattern and Decoration, or P&D, was one of the first cracks in the Minimalism-Conceptualism hegemony. New York Times, 5 Aug. 2021 These conferences are doing this to stop the SEC's march toward hegemony. Zach Osterman, The Indianapolis Star, 25 Aug. 2021 What Westerners assumed were reforms to integrate China into the global economic system were actually steps aimed at dominating and controlling that system in order to achieve hegemony. Arthur Herman, National Review, 18 July 2021 Iran has long acted with impunity in the Middle East, arming and controlling militias in Lebanon, Syria and Yemen, pursuing military and political hegemony. Star Tribune, 3 Mar. 2021 Although Donald Trump repeatedly criticized the Iraq War during his campaign for president, his foreign policy team—a grab bag of militarists and malcontents ranging from Mike Pompeo to John Bolton—has shown little affinity for dismantling hegemony. Daniel Bessner, The New Republic, 21 Oct. 2020 The war in Afghanistan took place during a narrow period of unquestioned American hegemony on the world stage. Washington Post, 20 Aug. 2021 The tone is at once accusatory and uplifted, asking the listener to challenge American hegemony and conceptualize something better—something sanctified. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 3 Aug. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hegemony.' 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 hegemony

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for hegemony

Greek hēgemonia, from hēgemōn leader, from hēgeisthai to lead — more at seek

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The first known use of hegemony was in 1567

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Last Updated

21 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Hegemony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hegemony. Accessed 24 Sep. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of hegemony

: influence or control over another country, a group of people, etc.

More from Merriam-Webster on hegemony

Nglish: Translation of hegemony for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of hegemony for Arabic Speakers


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