Definition of imperialism
1 : imperial government, authority, or system
2 : the policy, practice, or advocacy of extending the power and dominion of a nation especially by direct territorial acquisitions or by gaining indirect control over the political or economic life of other areas; broadly : the extension or imposition of power, authority, or influence union imperialism
imperialistplay \im-ˈpir-ē-ə-list\ noun or adjective
imperialisticplay \im-ˌpir-ē-ə-ˈli-stik\ adjective
imperialisticallyplay \im-ˌpir-ē-ə-ˈli-sti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb
Examples of imperialism in a Sentence
British imperialism created the enormous British Empire.
Recent Examples of imperialism from the Web
With altruistic motives but lucrative business prospects, some see Zuckerberg's initiative less as a magnanimous Internet project than as a version of high-tech imperialism.
U.S. imperialism is the most ferocious enemy of the people of the entire world.
Imperialism and courage are on display as Churchill fights the Boer War in Millard’s readable, enjoyable book.
Now the Africans are in charge, conflicted about their inheritance — imperialism was not about love.
The Balfour Declaration plays a crucial role in their mendacious narrative depicting Zionism as a form of imperialism.
Patriots who denounce Yankee imperialism and shop at Walmart.
The triumphs of capitalist imperialism in the nineteenth century, and of economic globalization after the Cold War, fulfilled on a grand scale the Enlightenment dream of a worldwide materialist civilization knit together by rational self-interest.
Worried that importing classic rides would reek of cultural imperialism, Disney left out stalwarts such as Space Mountain, the Jungle Cruise and It’s a Small World.
These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'imperialism'. Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.
Linguistic Roots of imperialism
The original meaning of imperialism was a simple one: "imperial government," that is, empire in the classical sense (such as existed in ancient Rome, China, and Greece). In more recent times, imperialism has become synonymous with western hegemony in Africa and Asia from the 18th through the 20th centuries and with the spreading cultural influence of the United States. Formerly implying military and governmental dominance, the word today is often invoked in a wider variety of contexts, such as cultural imperialism, media imperialism, and economic imperialism. And while there has been considerable debate about net the effects of western dominance in other parts of the world, in its current use, imperialism often carries a negative connotation.
First Known Use of imperialism
IMPERIALISM Defined for English Language Learners
Definition of imperialism for English Language Learners
: a policy or practice by which a country increases its power by gaining control over other areas of the world
: the effect that a powerful country or group of countries has in changing or influencing the way people live in other, poorer countries
Seen and Heard
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