he·​ge·​mo·​ny hi-ˈje-mə-nē How to pronounce hegemony (audio) -ˈge- How to pronounce hegemony (audio)
: preponderant influence or authority over others : domination
battled for hegemony in Asia
: the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group
hegemonic 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 (meaning "exposition" or "explanation"). Hegemony 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 19th 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.

Example Sentences

… 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.
Recent Examples on the Web The most frustrating thing about the conversation around US dollar hegemony is that real alternatives to the model are often unexplored or ridiculed. Roger Huang, Forbes, 21 Apr. 2023 It’s got an itch to rule Europe’s finances, hegemony making German hearts go pitter-pat. Brian T. Allen, National Review, 1 Apr. 2023 Musk’s Twitter disrupts that hegemony by providing a platform for alternative views. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 21 Mar. 2023 Instead, Putin and Xi focused on familiar accusations of overreach by NATO into the East, saying that US hegemony undermines global stability. Diego Lasarte, Quartz, 21 Mar. 2023 That’s because stablecoins, if properly regulated, have the potential to cement U.S. financial hegemony for a generation. Sam Lyman, Fortune Crypto, 26 Feb. 2023 Finland has a border of 830 miles with Russia, Europe’s longest, and a history of resisting Moscow’s hegemony. Steven Erlanger, BostonGlobe.com, 17 Mar. 2023 News of this hegemony’s collapse would have caused cheers among my fellow guerrilla gardeners. Hari Kunzru, Harper’s Magazine , 17 Aug. 2022 Focus on authorial personality is something readers overlook; it was obscured by the Times’ powerful hegemony, which some people take objectively but believe as truth. Armond White, National Review, 1 Feb. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'hegemony.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


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

First Known Use

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hegemony was in 1567


Dictionary Entries Near hegemony

Cite this Entry

“Hegemony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hegemony. Accessed 28 May. 2023.

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