he·​ge·​mo·​ny hi-ˈje-mə-nē How to pronounce hegemony (audio) -ˈge- How to pronounce hegemony (audio)
: preponderant influence or authority over others : domination
battled for hegemony in Asia
: the social, cultural, ideological, or economic influence exerted by a dominant group
hegemonic adjective

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Hegemony refers to a kind of domination. It was borrowed in the mid-16th century from the Greek word hēgemonia, a noun formed from the verb hēgeisthai, “to lead.” At first hegemony was used specifically to refer to the control once wielded by ancient Greek states; later it was applied to domination by other political actors. By the 19th century, the word had acquired a second sense referring to the social or cultural influence wielded by a dominant entity over others of its kind, a sense employed by design scholar Joshua Langman when describing the use of found objects by French artist Marcel Duchamp (he of notorious readymade Fountain fame) as a means “to question and criticize the values of the artistic hegemony by eschewing craft entirely.”

Examples of hegemony in a Sentence

… the very concept of "scientific truth" can only represent a social construction invented by scientists (whether consciously or not) as a device to justify their hegemony over the study of nature. Stephen Jay Gould, Science, 14 Jan. 2000
When Germany's invasion of the Soviet Union, in June of 1941, distracted Japan's traditional rival for hegemony in East Asia, Japanese expansionists saw a historic opportunity. David M. Kennedy, Atlantic, March 1999
If mermaids had ceased to challenge scientific hegemony, other similarly mythological creatures rushed in to fill their places in Victorian hearts and minds. Harriet Ritvo, The Platypus and the Mermaid, 1997
They discussed the national government's hegemony over their tribal community. European intellectuals have long debated the consequences of the hegemony of American popular culture around the world.
Recent Examples on the Web Earth’s literary salon has been attracting large crowds of people drawn to a literary scene known for its critiques of liberal hegemony in the arts. Leonardo Bevilacqua, The Christian Science Monitor, 24 June 2024 Washington should expect Beijing to continue to decry American hegemony and cast itself as a more benign and constructive great power. Aaron Glasserman, Foreign Affairs, 13 June 2024 Abandoning dollar hegemony could usher in a more stable and equitable U.S. and global economy. Hans Kundnani, Foreign Affairs, 10 June 2024 After decades of Hollywood hegemony over the entertainment industry, the idea that a series from a non-English-speaking country could become the most popular series ever on Netflix within a matter of weeks was almost incomprehensible. Josef Adalian, Vulture, 9 Feb. 2024 See all Example Sentences for hegemony 

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

Word History


Greek hēgemonia, from hēgemōn leader, from hēgeisthai to lead — more at seek

First Known Use

1567, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of hegemony was in 1567


Dictionary Entries Near hegemony

Cite this Entry

“Hegemony.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/hegemony. Accessed 13 Jul. 2024.

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