totalitarianism

noun
to·​tal·​i·​tar·​i·​an·​ism | \ (ˌ)tō-ˌta-lə-ˈter-ē-ə-ˌni-zəm How to pronounce totalitarianism (audio) \

Definition of totalitarianism

1 : centralized control by an autocratic authority
2 : the political concept that the citizen should be totally subject to an absolute state authority

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Examples of totalitarianism in a Sentence

in times of crisis, when a nation's people are frightened, there are often calls for totalitarianism
Recent Examples on the Web Barber interpreted the canton’s political success as proof that the fear of liberals about Rousseau’s ideas leading inevitably to totalitarianism was ill founded. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "A Rebirth of Communal Liberty?," 26 Dec. 2019 The former, employing privacy-annihilating surveillance by digital technologies, is inflicting totalitarianism of a hitherto impossible intensity. George Will, National Review, "Time Is on Taiwan’s Side — but It Needs U.S. Support," 26 Sep. 2019 The Borg are a fantasy of totalitarianism, not a technological prediction. The Economist, "Can technology plan economies and destroy democracy?," 18 Dec. 2019 The result is a thrilling and worthy continuation of Atwood’s indelible dystopia—another warning that totalitarianism is always lurking just around the corner. Related Entertainment The 10 Best Fiction Books of the 2010s Buy now: The Testaments 1. Lucy Feldman, Time, "The 10 Best Fiction Books of 2019," 22 Nov. 2019 Anyone who remembers The Book of Laughter and Forgetting, a far less hermetic novel, will know that angels are evil, the utopian enablers of totalitarianism who lend a celestial smile to conformity. Jonathan Rosen, The Atlantic, "Does Milan Kundera Still Matter?," 23 June 2015

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'totalitarianism.' 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 totalitarianism

1926, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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Time Traveler for totalitarianism

Time Traveler

The first known use of totalitarianism was in 1926

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Statistics for totalitarianism

Last Updated

14 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Totalitarianism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/totalitarianism. Accessed 19 Feb. 2020.

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