• synonyms


[mal-thoo-zhuh n, -zee-uh n]
  1. of or relating to the theories of T. R. Malthus, which state that population tends to increase faster, at a geometrical ratio, than the means of subsistence, which increases at an arithmetical ratio, and that this will result in an inadequate supply of the goods supporting life unless war, famine, or disease reduces the population or the increase of population is checked.
Show More
  1. a follower of Malthus.
Show More

Origin of Malthusian

First recorded in 1805–15; Malthus + -ian
Related formsMal·thu·sian·ism, nounan·ti-Mal·thu·si·an, adjective, nounan·ti-Mal·thu·si·an·ism, nounnon-Mal·thu·si·an, adjective, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for malthusianism

Historical Examples of malthusianism

  • This is a brutish Malthusianism which must be adamantly countered.


    Christopher Morley

  • Whatever sins Labrador has been guilty of, Malthusianism is not in the category.

    A Labrador Doctor

    Wilfred Thomason Grenfell

  • Eugenics, it cannot be too often said, is no mere phase of Malthusianism.

  • Here we behold Malthusianism as a new weapon for combatting Socialism.

  • I am no believer in Malthusianism as a check to what is called 'over-population.'

    The Drunkard

    Cyril Arthur Edward Ranger Gull

British Dictionary definitions for malthusianism


  1. of or relating to the theory of Malthus stating that increases in population tend to exceed increases in the means of subsistence and that therefore sexual restraint should be exercised
Show More
  1. a supporter of this theory
Show More
Derived FormsMalthusianism, noun
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 malthusianism



1812, from the teachings of English economist Thomas R. Malthus (1766-1835), especially with regard to population increase. As an adjective by 1818. Related: Malthusianism.

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

malthusianism in Culture


[(mal-thooh-zhuh-niz-uhm, mal-thooh-zee-uh-niz-uhm)]

A pessimistic viewpoint on population and world resources, based on the doctrines of Thomas Malthus. Malthusianism holds that population tends to increase faster than the supply of food, thus preventing the steady progress of mankind. Malthus advocated premarital chastity, late marriage, and sexual abstinence as partial solutions.

Show More
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.