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

Other Words from ideology

ideologist \ ˌī-​dē-​ˈä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce ideology (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 Bremberg, 43, says young people are not fully aware of the dangers of communism because of misguided predictions that the ideology had no future after the fall of the Soviet Union. Justin Wm. Moyer, Washington Post, 20 Sep. 2022 The Journal’s Nicole Ault and Megan Keller recently offered a chilling report on the destructive ideology embedded in a training program at a Pennsylvania school district. James Freeman, WSJ, 8 Sep. 2022 Biden’s speech criticized the extreme ideology of Trump supporters, not the GOP as a whole. Sabrina Haake, Chicago Tribune, 10 Sep. 2022 And it’s here that The Rings of Power perfectly stands in for the ideology of the American Empire in 2022. Daniel Bessner, The New Republic, 7 Sep. 2022 Trump didn’t invent the ideology that now goes by his name. David Lauter, Los Angeles Times, 2 Sep. 2022 There are far more Americans, far more Americans from every background and belief, who reject the extreme MAGA ideology than those that accept it. Catherine Garcia, The Week, 1 Sep. 2022 Western media accounts have portrayed Dugin as a sort of Putin whisperer, the brains behind the Kremlin’s ideology. Masha Gessen, The New Yorker, 26 Aug. 2022 In the wake of venture capitalist Nic Carter's call to reject the ideology, there have been no shortage of articles on the subject, on its origins, inconsistencies, and what its relevance says about the warring isms in the market at large. Pete Rizzo, Forbes, 25 Aug. 2022 See More

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.

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

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The first known use of ideology was in 1813

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Last Updated

27 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Ideology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for ideology


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 ideology (audio) , -​ˈal-​ How to pronounce ideology (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 ideology (audio) \ adjective
ideologically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ideology (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ideology

Nglish: Translation of ideology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ideology for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ideology


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