• synonyms


[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.
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Origin of communalism

First recorded in 1870–75; communal + -ism
Related formscom·mu·nal·ist, nouncom·mu·nal·is·tic, adjective
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for communalism

Historical Examples

  • Ought we to minimise the communalism of the medival village?

    The Agrarian Problem in the Sixteenth Century

    Richard Henry Tawney

  • Its communalism is guaranteed by, because it rests on, its individualism.

  • A small ragged urchin asked him the time, and that casual touch of communalism made him feel more at home.

    King John of Jingalo

    Laurence Housman

  • It is an interesting fact that communalism has been confined to animals of comparatively low organization.

    Man And His Ancestor

    Charles Morris

  • In the Orient the principle of communalism gained such headway as effectually to prevent the introduction of this new principle.

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
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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.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper