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[mal-thoo-zhuh n, -zee-uh n] /mælˈθu ʒən, -zi ən/
of or relating to the theories of T. R. Malthus, which state that population tends to increase faster, at a geometrical ratio, than the means of subsistence, which increases at an arithmetical ratio, and that this will result in an inadequate supply of the goods supporting life unless war, famine, or disease reduces the population or the increase of population is checked.
a follower of Malthus.
Origin of Malthusian
First recorded in 1805-15; Malthus + -ian
Related forms
Malthusianism, noun
anti-Malthusian, adjective, noun
anti-Malthusianism, noun
non-Malthusian, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for malthusianism
Historical Examples
  • Eugenics, it cannot be too often said, is no mere phase of malthusianism.

  • This is a brutish malthusianism which must be adamantly countered.

    Pipefuls Christopher Morley
  • We believe that it is more than anything else by a modification of this law that the practice of malthusianism can be checked.

  • Whatever sins Labrador has been guilty of, malthusianism is not in the category.

    A Labrador Doctor Wilfred Thomason Grenfell
  • The more population abounds, the more will subsistence superabound, is his comfortable counter-proposition to malthusianism.

  • I am no believer in malthusianism as a check to what is called 'over-population.'

    The Drunkard Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
  • Here we behold malthusianism as a new weapon for combatting Socialism.

    Woman and Socialism August Bebel
  • The real reason, afterward found, was a mixture of pure humanitarianism and malthusianism boiled down to Hottentot ethics.

  • This was the origin of his worst difficulties, to be intensified, ere long, by his defence of malthusianism.

    Annie Besant Annie Besant
  • It is opposed to the best instincts of human nature—as horrible as malthusianism, as horrible and as impracticable.

    The Drunkard Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull
British Dictionary definitions for malthusianism


of or relating to the theory of Malthus stating that increases in population tend to exceed increases in the means of subsistence and that therefore sexual restraint should be exercised
a supporter of this theory
Derived Forms
Malthusianism, noun
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 malthusianism



1812, from the teachings of English economist Thomas R. Malthus (1766-1835), especially with regard to population increase. As an adjective by 1818. Related: Malthusianism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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malthusianism in Culture
Malthusianism [(mal-thooh-zhuh-niz-uhm, mal-thooh-zee-uh-niz-uhm)]

A pessimistic viewpoint on population and world resources, based on the doctrines of Thomas Malthus. Malthusianism holds that population tends to increase faster than the supply of food, thus preventing the steady progress of mankind. Malthus advocated premarital chastity, late marriage, and sexual abstinence as partial solutions.

The American Heritage® 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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