ide·ol·o·gy | \ ˌī-dē-ˈä-lə-jē , ˌi- \
variants: or less commonly idealogy \ˌī-dē-ˈä-lə-jē, -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, 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

Perhaps in these days Republicans do ideology and politics, but just don’t do policy. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Maybe Republicans Just Don’t Do Policy," 3 July 2018 Barakat said when high profile cases are in the media there is an increase in suicidal ideology and behaviors. Karen Pilarski, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, "Stigma of suicide: Mom of teen found by former Wauwatosa alderman speaks out," 27 June 2018 Down-ticket Democratic candidates will need to thread the needle between progressive ideology and main street substance with an electorate that will be heavily bombarded with anti-tax and anti-majority messaging from the GOP. Amy Chance, sacbee, "California Influencers: What did we learn from the June primary election, and why?," 11 June 2018 There will just be a continuous struggle between competing factions with diverse ideologies and interests, with none ever gaining a truly permanent upper hand. Dylan Matthews, Vox, "Stop making second American Civil War clickbait," 1 June 2018 Another showed a trench coat adorned with various pins associated with conflicting ideologies and Cthulhu, a mythical creature drawn from the work of horror fiction writer H.P. Lovecraft. Marie Simoneaux,, "Man shot in the 7th Ward: NOPD," 19 May 2018 Pundits point to a rise in hateful ideologies and a decline in democracy. The Christian Science Monitor, "Trump’s attack on Syria: a bias for hope?," 16 Apr. 2018 The once ultra-orthodox are loosening their ideologies, facilitated by Facebook groups, podcasts, websites, and meet-ups. Sarah Scoles, Longreads, "Meet the New Mormons," 8 June 2018 The students say they're not motivated by political ideology. Kyra Gurney, miamiherald, "Nicaragua university students under attack as they lead political uprising against Ortega," 8 June 2018

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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Statistics for ideology

Last Updated

1 Sep 2018

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Time Traveler for ideology

The first known use of ideology was in 1813

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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 , ˌid- \
variants: also idealogy \-ˈäl-ə-jē, -ˈal- \
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 \ adjective
ideologically \-i-k(ə-)lē \ adverb

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