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 ideology (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

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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 Germany’s prevailing economic ideology, ordoliberalism, treats debt as almost immoral. Greg Ip, WSJ, "A Green Germany Could Pump Up Europe’s Fiscal Push," 28 Apr. 2021 Except the same breakaway principles, the same cartel ideology, the same financial motivations, have been percolating for years in America with its version of football. Mark Zeigler, San Diego Union-Tribune, "Column: Soccer’s Super League may be dead, but the concept lives on in college football," 23 Apr. 2021 At its most extreme, this sense of entitlement can look like the eco-fascist ideology of Ours, which blames the destruction of the environment on immigration and overpopulation. Erin Berger, Outside Online, "When Corporate Activism Has a Dark Side," 22 Apr. 2021 Put another way, stakeholder capitalism is an expression of corporatism, an ideology, which, despite the sound of its name, has nothing with the C-suite, except as the means to a broader end. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "Building the Stakeholder State," 14 Apr. 2021 How sad to see the media betray that calling and divide us to prop up a warped, dishonest ideology. Peter Bronson, The Enquirer, "Opinion: Don't believe the 'big lie' that police are racist," 8 Apr. 2021 The only way to become an antiracist was to subscribe to the Black Lives Matter ideology, which included critical race theory. Fox News, "Eli Steele: Justice for George Floyd from honking horns?," 5 Apr. 2021 If style is defined as the free expression of ideology, class and individuality, then the beret is the ultimate mixed message — both a symbol of the status quo and a call to action. Dave Schilling, Los Angeles Times, "Are the beret wearers of Silver Lake and Echo Park here for revolution or croissants?," 17 Mar. 2021 On the medicine side, anti-regulatory, free-enterprise ideology dominates the commercial market. Zachary Siegel, The New Republic, "How America Segregates Drug Use," 15 Mar. 2021

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.

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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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Time Traveler for ideology

Time Traveler

The first known use of ideology was in 1813

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Statistics for ideology

Last Updated

6 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ideology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for ideology



English Language Learners Definition of ideology

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


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

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