ideology

noun
ide·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌī-dē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce ideology (audio) , ˌi- How to pronounce ideology (audio) \
variants: or less commonly idealogy \ ˌī-​dē-​ˈä-​lə-​jē How to pronounce idealogy (audio) , -​ˈa-​ , ˌi-​ \
plural ideologies

Definition of ideology

1a : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture
b : the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program
c : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture
2 : visionary theorizing

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from ideology

ideologist \ ˌī-​dē-​ˈä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce ideologist (audio) , ˌi-​ \ noun

What Does ideology Mean?

Ideology has been in use in English since the end of the 18th century and is one of the few words whose coiner we can identify. The French writer A. L. C. Destutt de Tracy proposed it as a term to designate the “science of ideas,” and in that sense the word was quickly borrowed into English. Though ideology originated as a serious philosophical term, within a few decades it took on connotations of impracticality thanks to Napoleon, who used it in a derisive manner. Today, the word most often refers to “a systematic body of concepts,” especially those of a particular group or political party.

Examples of ideology in a Sentence

the ideology of a totalitarian society He says that the election is not about ideology.
Recent Examples on the Web What happens when religious ideology clashes with mainstream science in America? Billy Kobin, The Courier-Journal, "'We Believe in Dinosaurs': PBS documentary focuses on Kentucky's Ark Encounter," 11 Feb. 2020 The two Iowa leaders, Buttigieg and Sanders, are separated by 40 years in age and conflicting ideology. Anchorage Daily News, "DNC chair calls for ‘recanvass’ of Iowa results after delays," 7 Feb. 2020 Party ideology classes on Marxism, Mao Zedong thought, etc. Wenrui Chen, The Conversation, "Research in China is complicated by the Communist Party’s influence, says researcher who worked there," 7 Feb. 2020 Inside the horserace numbers Looking inside the horserace numbers, the Democratic field continues to be divided by age and ideology. NBC News, "NBC News/Marist poll: Sanders, Buttigieg continue to lead in New Hampshire," 7 Feb. 2020 Others, though, said Dr. Li’s death reflected the stifling of dissent under Mr. Xi, and the advance of loyalty and ideology over initiative and open debate. Lingling Wei, WSJ, "China’s Leader Wages a War on Two Fronts—Viral and Political," 7 Feb. 2020 What the siblings don’t understand is that Grace is a victim of her father’s warped ideology, and trying desperately to build a normal life. Kaitlin Reilly, refinery29.com, "The Bleak Ending Of The Lodge, Explained," 7 Feb. 2020 The two early leaders are separated by 40 years in age and conflicting ideology. Steve Peoples, Fortune, "Democratic Party chairman calls on Iowa Democrats to ‘recanvass’ caucus results," 6 Feb. 2020 The only way a democracy works is when those who are opposed to each other in ideology or in policy goals agree to a set of ground rules on governance and procedures. Time, "Where Trump's Acquittal Fits Into the History of Impeachment, According to Historians," 6 Feb. 2020

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'ideology.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

See More

First Known Use of ideology

1813, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for ideology

French idéologie, from idéo- ideo- + -logie -logy

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ideology

Time Traveler for ideology

Time Traveler

The first known use of ideology was in 1813

See more words from the same year

Statistics for ideology

Last Updated

17 Feb 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ideology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ideologies. Accessed 21 Feb. 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for ideology

ideology

noun
How to pronounce ideology (audio) How to pronounce ideology (audio)

English Language Learners Definition of ideology

: the set of ideas and beliefs of a group or political party

ideology

noun
ide·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌīd-ē-ˈäl-ə-jē How to pronounce ideology (audio) , ˌid- How to pronounce ideology (audio) \
variants: also idealogy \ -​ˈäl-​ə-​jē How to pronounce idealogy (audio) , -​ˈal-​ How to pronounce idealogy (audio) \
plural ideologies

Medical Definition of ideology

1 : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture
2 : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture

Other Words from ideology

ideological also idealogical \ ˌīd-​ē-​ə-​ˈläj-​i-​kəl How to pronounce idealogical (audio) \ adjective
ideologically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ideologically (audio) \ adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ideology

What made you want to look up ideology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

See Definitions and Examples »

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

More Confusing Words—Quiz

  • cats on impossible timber
  • The magician ______ moved the selected card to the top of the deck.
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Dictionary Devil

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!