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 comes to English from the Greek hēgemonia, a noun formed from the verb hēgeisthai ("to lead"), which also gave us the word exegesis (meaning "exposition" or "explanation"). Hegemony was first used in English in the mid-16th century in reference to the control once wielded by the ancient Greek states, and it was reapplied in later centuries as other nations subsequently rose to power. By the 19th century, it had acquired a second sense referring to the social or cultural influence wielded by a dominant member over others of its kind, such as the domination within an industry by a business conglomerate over smaller businesses.

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 It’s been a long time since a movie has been this delightfully, unapologetically and hilariously vicious in satirizing the heteropatriarchy of high-school hegemony. Katie Walsh, Los Angeles Times, 25 Aug. 2023 The two men see eye-to-eye on several key policies, especially the need to rebalance perceived Western hegemony over global affairs. Nadeen Ebrahim, CNN, 4 Sep. 2023 None of that is likely, which is why the most probable result of U.S. retrenchment would be not an immaculate transition to peaceful Chinese hegemony but violent chaos. Michael Beckley, Foreign Affairs, 22 Aug. 2023 In New York, efforts to install public electric vehicle chargers have run into intense opposition from groups that want to radically reduce traffic and see the technology as a way to extend the hegemony of the automobile. New York Times, 18 Aug. 2023 His statement drew widespread criticism as commentators seized on it as proof of allegations that Israel was turning into an apartheid system that seeks to maintain Jewish hegemony from the Jordan River to the Mediterranean Sea. Isabel Debre, BostonGlobe.com, 25 Aug. 2023 But the court’s basic application of antitrust laws to the nation’s college-athletics system, as well as its cross-ideological criticism of the status quo where student-athletes generate billions in revenue and receive none of it, was a dismal sign for the NCAA’s hopes at maintaining its hegemony. Matt Ford, The New Republic, 25 Aug. 2023 All around the world, a backlash is brewing against the hegemony of the US dollar. Michelle Jamrisko, Fortune, 2 June 2023 Three decades after the fall of the Soviet Union, as China emerges as a new superpower and contests US hegemony, the face of foreign espionage in the West has become Chinese. WIRED, 9 Aug. 2023 See More

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 1 Oct. 2023.

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