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 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 This is a timid ideology of state function, Ruiz suggested. Samanth Subramanian, Quartz, "In the push for new vaccines, taxpayers keep paying and paying," 12 May 2021 Conservatism, then, is not an ideology in the sense that liberalism, or the various forms of radicalism are. Ronald Radosh, The New Republic, "Our Friend, the Trump Propagandist," 5 May 2021 The vast majority — 85 % — fell into the categories of incitement to hate, insults and propaganda, including Holocaust denial and glorification of Nazi ideology. Toby Axelrod, sun-sentinel.com, "Germany sees 15% rise in politically motivated anti-Semitic crimes," 5 May 2021 The First Amendment means that people cannot be prosecuted on the basis of ideology alone, so the hurdle is figuring out which secretive individual or group, whether far right or far left, might be turning to violence. New York Times, "From the Past, a Chilling Warning About the Extremists of the Present," 1 May 2021 Yousafzai has repeatedly responded to the criticism with a grace far outstripping her years, often saying that education for girls is not just a Western ideology. Frank Miles, Fox News, "Malala Yousafzai: What to know about the Pakistani activist for girls' education," 16 Mar. 2021 This is a dangerous and divisive ideology, one that assigns moral value to people on the basis of their skin color. Samantha Harris, National Review, "Critical Race Theory Is Dangerous. Here’s How to Fight It," 13 Mar. 2021 Maybe this is true with everything about Trump, but there does seem to be less ideology behind it and more desire to enforce hierarchies without ideological justification. Isaac Chotiner, The New Yorker, "Kate Manne on the Costs of Male Entitlement," 4 Sep. 2020 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

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

18 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ideology.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/ideology. Accessed 18 May. 2021.

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More Definitions for ideology

ideology

noun

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 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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