Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

Social Darwinism

or social Darwinism

noun Sociology.
  1. a 19th-century theory, inspired by Darwinism, by which the social order is accounted as the product of natural selection of those persons best suited to existing living conditions and in accord with which a position of laissez-faire is advocated.
Show More

Origin of Social Darwinism

First recorded in 1885–90
Related formsSocial Darwinist, social Darwinist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Related Words for social darwinism

adaptation, evolution, Darwinism, phylogeny

social darwinism in Culture

social Darwinism

A theory arising in the late nineteenth century that the laws of evolution, which Charles Darwin had observed in nature, also apply to society. Social Darwinists argued that social progress resulted from conflicts in which the fittest or best adapted individuals, or entire societies, would prevail. It gave rise to the slogan “survival of the fittest.”

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.