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 Buttigieg proposed expanding the high court to 15, but not simply by allowing the sitting president to amplify his or her ideology on the bench. Mark Sherman, Star Tribune, "Some Dems, not yet Biden, talk of expanding Supreme Court," 22 Sep. 2020 And, to this day, his refusal of an independent investigation is consistent with his ideology. Kathryn Jean Lopez, National Review, "Do We Really Mean ‘Never Again’?," 21 Sep. 2020 Since his time with Shining Light, Kenji has started to agree with their ideology. Rachel Paige,, "Let’s Piece Together The History Of Kimiko’s Brother & Shining Light On The Boys," 11 Sep. 2020 Far-right extremists were also significantly more likely to be less educated, single, young and to have participated in training by a group associated with their extremist 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 Daniel McMahon, 32, was sentenced to more than three years in prison for terrorizing and harassing people online who disagreed with his white supremacist ideology. Dana Hedgpeth, Washington Post, "Pedestrian struck and killed by vehicle in Maryland," 1 Sep. 2020 But it’s Freeland’s political skill, more than her ideology, that landed her the most difficult job in Canadian politics. Kait Bolongaro,, "Justin Trudeau Plots Canada’s Sharpest Turn Left in Economic Policy in Decades," 28 Aug. 2020 At times, her ideology earned her criticism from her constituents and others. Kaitlin Lange, The Indianapolis Star, "How Victoria Spartz's Ukrainian roots influence her conservative values," 28 Aug. 2020 During an episode of his podcast in June, Cannon promoted anti-Semitic conspiracy theories about the Rothschild family and praised Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan and his ideology. Charles Trepany, USA TODAY, "Kevin Hart opens up about defending Ellen DeGeneres, Nick Cannon: 'I know who they are'," 19 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

26 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Ideology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 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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