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[kuh-loh-nee-uh-liz-uh m] /kəˈloʊ ni əˌlɪz əm/
the control or governing influence of a nation over a dependent country, territory, or people.
the system or policy by which a nation maintains or advocates such control or influence.
the state or condition of being colonial.
an idea, custom, or practice peculiar to a colony.
Origin of colonialism
First recorded in 1850-55; colonial + -ism
Related forms
colonialist, noun, adjective
colonialistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for colonialism


the policy and practice of a power in extending control over weaker peoples or areas Also called imperialism
Derived Forms
colonialist, noun, adjective
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for colonialism

1853, "ways or speech of colonial persons," from colonial + -ism. Meaning "the system of colonial rule" is from 1886.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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colonialism in Culture

colonialism definition

The control of one nation by “transplanted” people of another nation — often a geographically distant nation that has a different culture and dominant racial or ethnic group. (See ethnicity.)

Note: A classic example of colonialism is the control of India by Britain from the eighteenth century to 1947.
Note: Control that is economic and cultural, rather than political, is often called neocolonialism.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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