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
The Western mission to save Africa by stopping the birth of African children or by killing them in the womb must be considered a form of paternalism or imperialism.
Western imperialism, symbolized by the Suez Canal, changed the fascination to hostility.
From slavery, the story jumped to the excesses of capitalism during the Industrial Revolution and then to imperialism around the turn of the century.
Rodriguez responded with a diatribe against U.S. imperialism and repeated Venezuela’s vow not to recognize any OAS resolution against it.
Maduro has tried to paint the OAS as a tool of U.S. imperialism.
But that surreal episode, a combination of Soviet-era imperialism and Surkovian phantasmagoria, stems from a much larger political ideology in Moscow.
Instead, let the stunning designs of Lisa Zinni’s costumes draw your senses to a more exquisite era, in which English aristocrats donned floral dresses and all-white suits to dominate the polo fields and Argentine industries with their imperialism.
All this seems motivated, at least in part, by extreme pacifism and anti-imperialism rather than sympathy for dictators and terrorists, per se.
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
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