[ kuh-myoon-l-iz-uh m, kom-yuh-nl- ]
/ kəˈmyun lˌɪz əm, ˈkɒm yə nl- /


a theory or system of government according to which each commune is virtually an independent state and the nation is merely a federation of such states.
the principles or practices of communal ownership.
strong allegiance to one's own ethnic group rather than to society as a whole.

Nearby words

  1. commove,
  2. comms,
  3. communal,
  4. communal aerial,
  5. communal marriage,
  6. communality,
  7. communalize,
  8. communally,
  9. communard,
  10. communautaire

Origin of communalism

First recorded in 1870–75; communal + -ism

Related formscom·mu·nal·ist, nouncom·mu·nal·is·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for communalism

British Dictionary definitions for communalism


/ (ˈkɒmjʊnəˌlɪzəm) /


a system or theory of government in which the state is seen as a loose federation of self-governing communities
an electoral system in which ethnic groups vote separately for their own representatives
loyalty to the interests of one's own ethnic group rather than to society as a whole
the practice or advocacy of communal living or ownership
Derived Formscommunalist, nouncommunalistic, 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

Word Origin and History for communalism



1871 (in reference to Paris), from communal + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper