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

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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 The locations of violent extremist activity also differ by ideology. Jeff Gruenewald, The Conversation, "19 years after 9/11, Americans continue to fear foreign extremists and underplay the dangers of domestic terrorism," 10 Sep. 2020 For Chen, the other consideration was the wider anti-vaxxer movement wasn't governed by political ideology, meaning there would likely be less of a partisan split. Naomi Lim, Washington Examiner, "Biden and Harris preemptively sow doubt on Trump vaccine announcement," 9 Sep. 2020 The ideology remains as evil as ever, and is somehow making a comeback. Paul Kengor, National Review, "It’s High Time We Tell the Truth about the Evils of Marx and Marxism," 9 Sep. 2020 In corporate America, marketing, sales, communications, and leadership have all absorbed the ideology of self-actualization. Hari Kunzru, The New York Review of Books, "The Wages of Whiteness," 8 Sep. 2020 Countries that are taken over by extreme ideology have a very tight top-down structure, permitting orders at the top to rapidly trickle down for efficient execution by the lowest civil servant. Rachel Marsden, Star Tribune, "Neither fascism nor communism is coming to America," 1 Sep. 2020 Instead of asking what that might mean for daily diets and challenging the broader ideology of consumer freedom that helped take us to the brink, climate advocates seem increasingly focused on implausible workarounds. Jan Dutkiewicz, The New Republic, "The Climate Activists Who Dismiss Meat Consumption Are Wrong," 31 Aug. 2020 The Party’s transformation into an ideology of Trump and Trump alone was made explicit from the start of this Convention, when the Republican platform for the election was released on Sunday evening. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, "The Malign Fantasy of Donald Trump’s Convention," 28 Aug. 2020 Biden's numbers in North Carolina are very similar, including the differences by voters' own ideology. Caitlin Conant, CBS News, "2020 Daily Trail Markers: Ohio Democrats see opportunity on the horizon," 4 Aug. 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.

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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

14 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ideology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 21 Sep. 2020.

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More Definitions for ideology


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


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

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