he·​ge·​mo·​ny | \hi-ˈje-mə-nē, -ˈge-;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 , ˌhe-​gə-​ \ adjective

Did You Know?

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

New York was closed to most ambitious Jewish people for generations, but in the late ’70s, when the city was falling apart, part of what was falling away was the old WASP establishment, the hegemony that kept everyone else from succeeding. Julia Felsenthal, Vogue, "Matt Tyrnauer’s New Documentary, Studio 54, Takes On the Rise, Fall, and Last Days of Disco," 4 Oct. 2018 But hosting the world's largest sporting event appears to have renewed Russians' sense that the pursuit of hegemony is justified. Amie Ferris-rotman, Washington Post, "For the World Cup, the Russian people are all in, win or lose," 25 June 2018 If Trump is behaving like a Roman emperor, what does that say about the state of the American empire, the informal hegemony that the United States has enjoyed since 1945? Jeet Heer, The New Republic, "Are We Witnessing the Fall of the American Empire?," 7 Mar. 2018 In the Middle East, Putin stands for an alternative to American hegemony, transcending sectarian divisions. Washington Post, "How the Kremlin turned the Russian president into a global icon," 12 July 2018 For decades, the Boomer hegemony has held up the protest movement of the 1960s as the standard for meaningful cultural engagement in a time of turmoil. Spencer Kornhaber, The Atlantic, "Can Protest Art Get Its Mojo Back?," 7 May 2018 The hegemony of white landowners prompted few, if any, complaints about tribalism in the national conversation. Laila Lalami, New York Times, "Does American ‘Tribalism’ End in a Compromise, or a Fight?," 26 June 2018 America’s unique willingness to lead by fusing power and legitimacy saw off the Soviet Union and carried it to hegemony. The Economist, "Donald Trump’s demolition theory of foreign policy won’t work," 7 June 2018 Stopping Iran’s efforts at establishing regional hegemony is the kingdom’s highest foreign-policy priority. Nawaf E. Obaid, WSJ, "The Oil Weapon Can Fell the Ayatollahs," 1 July 2018

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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Statistics for hegemony

Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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The first known use of hegemony was in 1567

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English Language Learners Definition of hegemony

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

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to clear from alleged fault or guilt

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