ide·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌī-dē-ˈä-lə-jē How to pronounce ideology (audio) , ˌi- How to pronounce ideology (audio) \
variants: or less commonly idealogy \ ˌī-​dē-​ˈä-​lə-​jē How to pronounce ideology (audio) , -​ˈa-​ , ˌi-​ \
plural ideologies

Definition of ideology

1a : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture
b : the integrated assertions, theories and aims that constitute a sociopolitical program
c : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture
2 : visionary theorizing

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Other Words from ideology

ideologist \ ˌī-​dē-​ˈä-​lə-​jist How to pronounce ideology (audio) , ˌi-​ \ noun

What Does ideology Mean?

Ideology has been in use in English since the end of the 18th century and is one of the few words whose coiner we can identify. The French writer A. L. C. Destutt de Tracy proposed it as a term to designate the “science of ideas,” and in that sense the word was quickly borrowed into English. Though ideology originated as a serious philosophical term, within a few decades it took on connotations of impracticality thanks to Napoleon, who used it in a derisive manner. Today, the word most often refers to “a systematic body of concepts,” especially those of a particular group or political party.

Examples of ideology in a Sentence

the ideology of a totalitarian society He says that the election is not about ideology.
Recent Examples on the Web Some of my clients express radical or extreme thinking on these more anonymous accounts as well, from polarizing political ideology to accounts targeting certain groups, often boys targeting girls. John Duffy, CNN, 5 Oct. 2021 Many Afghans fear the harsh ways of the Taliban, their hard-line ideology or their severe restrictions of women’s freedoms. Kathy Gannon, Anchorage Daily News, 5 Oct. 2021 Regulators called for algorithms to be fair and transparent, while adhering to China’s Communist Party ideology. Stephanie Yang, WSJ, 5 Oct. 2021 Nietzche is an adherent of the sovereign citizen movement, a fringe ideology. oregonlive, 4 Oct. 2021 Perhaps at any other time in this city, the naysayers would win the day, except too many people know this is no time for ideology., 4 Oct. 2021 For Dr Asa Cusack, an expert on Venezuela’s political economy who now works for the UN, Saab’s arrest might become more about ideology than the U.S. plight for access to information. David Dawkins, Forbes, 1 Oct. 2021 Trump’s entire premise is that Biden is doomed to failure—a personal political imperative that is as close to a Republican ideology as the Party has at the moment. Susan B. Glasser, The New Yorker, 1 Oct. 2021 Persecution of minorities subsided somewhat in the 1980s as the party grew more concerned with economic growth than ideology. Los Angeles Times, 30 Sep. 2021

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

1813, in the meaning defined at sense 2

History and Etymology for ideology

French idéologie, from idéo- ideo- + -logie -logy

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Time Traveler for ideology

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The first known use of ideology was in 1813

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Last Updated

9 Oct 2021

Cite this Entry

“Ideology.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 19 Oct. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of ideology

: the set of ideas and beliefs of a group or political party


ide·​ol·​o·​gy | \ ˌīd-ē-ˈäl-ə-jē How to pronounce ideology (audio) , ˌid- How to pronounce ideology (audio) \
variants: also idealogy \ -​ˈäl-​ə-​jē How to pronounce ideology (audio) , -​ˈal-​ How to pronounce ideology (audio) \
plural ideologies

Medical Definition of ideology

1 : a systematic body of concepts especially about human life or culture
2 : a manner or the content of thinking characteristic of an individual, group, or culture

Other Words from ideology

ideological also idealogical \ ˌīd-​ē-​ə-​ˈläj-​i-​kəl How to pronounce ideology (audio) \ adjective
ideologically \ -​i-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce ideology (audio) \ adverb

More from Merriam-Webster on ideology

Nglish: Translation of ideology for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of ideology for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about ideology


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