neo·​co·​lo·​nial·​ism ˌnē-ō-kə-ˈlōn-yə-ˌli-zəm How to pronounce neocolonialism (audio)
: the economic and political policies by which a great power indirectly maintains or extends its influence over other areas or people
… wary opponents of neocolonialism are scrupulous about keeping their nonaligned credentials intact.The Economist
neocolonial adjective
ˌnē-ō-kə-ˈlōn-yə-list How to pronounce neocolonialism (audio)
noun or adjective

Examples of neocolonialism in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Part of what makes neocolonialism so intractable is that, as a state fails, more neocolonialism becomes the only imaginable cure for the ills created by it in the first place. Marlene L. Daut, The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2023 Critics of the International Criminal Court contend that its attempts to prosecute African leaders such as Uhuru Kenyatta, the former president of Kenya, or Omar al-Bashir, the former president of Sudan, smacked of neocolonialism. Foreign Affairs, 20 Dec. 2022 How does a shadow state like Haiti achieve decolonization from neocolonialism? Marlene L. Daut, The New Yorker, 18 Mar. 2023 At the signing ceremony, Mr. Putin devoted a large chunk of his 40-minute speech to what has become a familiar litany of complaints against the West, accusing the U.S. of neocolonialism and decadeslong efforts at sabotage to dismember the Russian state. Alan Cullison, WSJ, 2 Oct. 2022 The initiative has been criticized as a form of neocolonialism: hooking up countries, particularly in Africa, to high-interest loans that leave them beholden to Chinese investment. WIRED, 27 Sep. 2022 The title track is a rousing seven-and-a-half-minute broadside against neocolonialism in Niger. Sheldon Pearce, The New Yorker, 21 Dec. 2021 What Far Cry 6 serves up is neocolonialism and cultural appropriation—with a wink. Phillip Penix-Tadsen, Wired, 9 Oct. 2021 The complex topic of skin tone matters prevails in the context of professional opportunities and social hierarchy and has further complicated issues stemming from neocolonialism. Kang-Chun Cheng, Quartz, 11 Aug. 2021

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'neocolonialism.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


neo- + colonialism

First Known Use

1947, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of neocolonialism was in 1947

Dictionary Entries Near neocolonialism

Cite this Entry

“Neocolonialism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 23 Apr. 2024.

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