[ kuh-myoon-l-iz-uhm, 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.

  1. 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

Other words from communalism

  • com·mu·nal·ist, noun
  • com·mu·nal·is·tic, adjective Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023

How to use communalism in a sentence

  • It remained communalist only; it merely asserted the rights of the Commune to its full autonomy.

    The Conquest of Bread | Peter Kropotkin
  • We were beaten at all points, and the Communalist papers shouted "Victory!"

British Dictionary definitions for communalism


/ (ˈkɒmjʊnəˌlɪzəm) /

  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

  1. loyalty to the interests of one's own ethnic group rather than to society as a whole

  2. the practice or advocacy of communal living or ownership

Derived forms of communalism

  • communalist, noun
  • communalistic, 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