[kuh-myoon-l-iz-uh m, kom-yuh-nl-]
  1. 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.
  2. the principles or practices of communal ownership.
  3. strong allegiance to one's own ethnic group rather than to society as a whole.

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. 2018

Examples from the Web for communalism

Historical Examples of communalism

British Dictionary definitions for communalism


  1. a system or theory of government in which the state is seen as a loose federation of self-governing communities
  2. an electoral system in which ethnic groups vote separately for their own representatives
  3. loyalty to the interests of one's own ethnic group rather than to society as a whole
  4. 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