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

Keep scrolling for more

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

The local party’s shift to the right partially conflicts with the ideology of Bexar County’s Republican elected officials, most of whom fall into what is considered the moderate camp in today’s Texas GOP. Jasper Scherer, San Antonio Express-News, "As factions fight for control of Texas Republican Party, battle already decided in Bexar County," 13 June 2018 The fact that President Trump has chosen to undermine the Antiquities Act and attack our public lands has less to do with political ideology and more to do with shortsighted economics. Alex Honnold, Outside Online, "Alex Honnold to Politicos: Leave Our Public Lands Alone," 25 May 2018 Along with the Nazi ideology that there existed a superior race of people came the idea that there was one true cultural and ideological canon; that which didn’t fit was consigned to the fire. Lily Rothman, Time, "The Real History Behind Book Burning and Fahrenheit 451," 18 May 2018 For that matter, there’s an entire campaign, #GrabYourWallet, dedicated to bringing about the swift demise of any brand that’s associated with the far-right ideologies Trump espouses. Cam Wolf, GQ, "Kanye West's Trump Endorsement Is Having a Weird Effect on the Yeezy Brand," 27 Apr. 2018 The new judges also could swing the courts toward constitutional interpretations more in line with conservative ideology for years to come. Karoun Demirjian,, "Senate confirms 15th circuit court judge in 15 months of Trump's presidency," 25 Apr. 2018 Third, neither party ideology nor parties’ goodwill explains when parties nominate women. Magda Hinojosa, Washington Post, "Women won big in Mexico’s elections — taking nearly half the legislature’s seats. Here’s why.," 11 July 2018 And if the heavy hand of partisanship or ideology extended to cases involving ostensibly neutral agencies like the National Labor Relations Board, real damage to impartiality could be done. Ed Kilgore, Daily Intelligencer, "Nudged by SCOTUS, Trump Takes Control of Hundreds of Federal Agency Judges," 11 July 2018 But the four judges who are apparently the finalists for President Donald Trump’s second Supreme Court nomination are being measured against a set of questions that go well beyond age and ideology., "Waltham native is on Trump’s short list for Supreme Court," 6 July 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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about ideology

Statistics for ideology

Last Updated

10 Nov 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for ideology

The first known use of ideology was in 1813

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

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, 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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on ideology

What made you want to look up ideology? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


obstinately defiant of authority

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

Word Winder's CrossWinder

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.


Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!