• synonyms


[an-er-kiz-uh m]
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  1. a doctrine urging the abolition of government or governmental restraint as the indispensable condition for full social and political liberty.
  2. the methods or practices of anarchists, as the use of violence to undermine government.
  3. anarchy.
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Origin of anarchism

First recorded in 1635–45; anarch(y) + -ism
Related formspro·an·ar·chism, nounsem·i·an·ar·chism, noun
Can be confusedanarchism anarchy
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for anarchism


  1. political theory a doctrine advocating the abolition of government
  2. the principles or practice of anarchists
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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

Word Origin and History for anarchism


1640s; see anarchy + -ism.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

anarchism in Culture



The belief that all existing governmental authority should be abolished and replaced by free cooperation among individuals.

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Anarchy is sometimes used to refer to any state of chaos or lawlessness.
The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.