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

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 But of course, those sounding the alarm about incipient progressive totalitarianism aren't merely making a case for having supported Trump through most his presidency. Damon Linker, The Week, 14 Dec. 2021 Dreher’s Hungary foray, and Carlson’s, served as an invitation for conservatives to take their own loose talk about soft totalitarianism and the oppressiveness of cancel culture literally and to consider post-liberal political models. The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2021 In it, Dreher argues that leftist identity politics in America is bringing about a cultural revolution, in which the punishments for transgressors echo those of Soviet totalitarianism. New York Times, 19 Oct. 2021 Grassley's comment also epitomized the entire attitude of the GOP, a party that once boasted about triumphing over Soviet totalitarianism, toward Trump. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 13 Oct. 2021 American conservatives, Dreher went on, were just beginning to intuit how deep this soft totalitarianism ran. The New Yorker, 13 Sep. 2021 But the real reason for Cuban privation is totalitarianism. Mary Anastasia O’grady, WSJ, 6 Sep. 2021 But this extraordinary sequence predicts the conditions of emotional totalitarianism — the visceral hatred, the lack of love — that amounts to political persecution. Armond White, National Review, 30 June 2021 Part of what had drawn Gates to the Republican Party was the Reagan-era doctrine of confronting totalitarianism. Jane Mayer, The New Yorker, 2 Aug. 2021

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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The first known use of totalitarianism was in 1926

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Last Updated

8 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Totalitarianism.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 20 Jan. 2022.

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