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.

Example Sentences

… 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 The party’s position has significantly eroded under his hegemony. The Editors, National Review, 15 Nov. 2022 Nevertheless, Skype would soon become one of the first European startups to challenge the hegemony of American internet giants in the early 2000s. WIRED, 9 Oct. 2022 Miyake was deftly aware of the unquestioned hegemony of Paris fashion, and admired its sense of tradition, the rigidity of its system. Rachel Tashjian, Harper's BAZAAR, 9 Aug. 2022 Yes, this is a moment of chaos, but one not entirely unrelated to the financial crisis that fractured the hegemony of the neoliberal order in 2008 to 2009. Nick Lichtenberg, Fortune, 11 June 2022 Controversially, Hämäläinen describes the largest Indigenous groups as empires bent on hegemony. Daniel Immerwahr, Harper’s Magazine , 26 Oct. 2022 The day after the announcement, China's Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said that the U.S. was abusing export control measures to suppress Chinese companies and maintain technological hegemony. Karen Hao, WSJ, 23 Oct. 2022 Part of what this polarization is is the emergence of competing narratives, which are fighting each other for what will be the new hegemony. Indigo Olivier, The New Republic, 20 Oct. 2022 The resounding success of the New Deal led to years of Democratic political hegemony; even the Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower governed in the New Deal mold. Ian Macdougall, Harper’s Magazine , 28 Sep. 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'hegemony.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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 Dec. 2022.

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