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[trahy-buh-liz-uh m] /ˈtraɪ bəˌlɪz əm/
the customs and beliefs of tribal life and society.
strong loyalty to one's own tribe, party, or group.
Origin of tribalism
First recorded in 1885-90; tribal + -ism
Related forms
tribalist, noun
tribalistic, adjective Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2017.
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Examples from the Web for tribalism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Christianity was the first expression of world religion, the first complete repudiation of tribalism and war and disputation.

    The World Set Free Herbert George Wells
  • But the Celtic state did not emerge from tribalism in Britain; the Celtic heroes were always tribal heroes.

    Folklore as an Historical Science George Laurence Gomme
  • Treitschke is the prophet of tribalism, Nietzsche of ruthlessness, Bernhardi of ambition.

  • A strange compound of feudalism with tribalism ensued, in the shape of mongrel chieftaincies, henceforth the predominant powers.

British Dictionary definitions for tribalism


the state of existing as a separate tribe or tribes
the customs and beliefs of a tribal society
loyalty to a tribe or tribal values
Derived Forms
tribalist, noun, adjective
tribalistic, 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 tribalism

1886, "condition of being a tribe," from tribal + -ism. Meaning "group loyalty" attested by 1955.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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