a theory or system of social organization that advocates the ownership and control of the means of production and distribution, capital, land, etc., by the community as a whole, usually through a centralized government.
procedure or practice in accordance with this theory.
(in Marxist theory) the stage following capitalism in the transition of a society to communism, characterized by the imperfect implementation of collectivist principles.
Click for a side-by-side comparison of meanings. Use the word comparison feature to learn the differences between similar and commonly confused words.
- pre·so·cial·ism, noun
- sem·i·so·cial·ism, noun
- un·so·cial·ism, noun
- Compare utopian socialism.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use socialism in a sentence
That Republicans are running ads attacking expanded government health care as socialism while offering nothing serious of their own amid a pandemic says it all.A disgusting GOP attack ad shows what’s really at stake in Georgia | Greg Sargent | December 18, 2020 | Washington Post
Moderates blame liberals for promoting socialism and proposals to “defund the police.”Democrats, nearing a moment of triumph, still feel anxious and divided | Sean Sullivan | November 10, 2020 | Washington Post
In one of three ads unveiled Thursday, participants in a roundtable discussion tout Trump’s stewardship of the economy, with one woman describing him as “the only barrier between us and socialism.”Election live updates: Trump returns to Wisconsin; Biden to face live audience at town hall | Colby Itkowitz, Felicia Sonmez, John Wagner | September 17, 2020 | Washington Post
This may sound like nomenclatural hair-splitting to you — the difference between a “social democracy” and “democratic socialism” — but Sachs argues otherwise.Does Anyone Really Know What Socialism Is? (Ep. 408 Rebroadcast) | Stephen J. Dubner | September 17, 2020 | Freakonomics
She believed in the hopeful socialism of the early 20th century, when people who thought that equality was within their grasp if only they could undermine the capitalist system.Suffragette City: San Diego’s Crucial Role in Getting Women the Vote | Randy Dotinga | August 6, 2020 | Voice of San Diego
He expected European capitalism to evolve spontaneously into a market socialism of worker-owned cooperatives.
So a United States senator has no idea what "national socialism" means.
But at any rate, we have to change course because our country is headed for national socialism.
These, he insisted, were harbingers of the twin plagues of socialism and secular humanism.
“Welfarism,” as Goldwater constantly called welfare, was the path to socialism.
Now many people think that we are moving in the direction of world socialism to-day.The Salvaging Of Civilisation | H. G. (Herbert George) Wells
Many people when presented with the argument above, would settle it at once with the word "socialism."
Thus seen, socialism appeared as the very antithesis of law and order, of love and chastity, and of religion itself.
It remained for the age of machinery and power to bring forth another and a vastly more potent socialism.
socialism, like every other impassioned human effort, will flourish best under martyrdom.
British Dictionary definitions for socialism
an economic theory or system in which the means of production, distribution, and exchange are owned by the community collectively, usually through the state. It is characterized by production for use rather than profit, by equality of individual wealth, by the absence of competitive economic activity, and, usually, by government determination of investment, prices, and production levels: Compare capitalism
any of various social or political theories or movements in which the common welfare is to be achieved through the establishment of a socialist economic system
(in Leninist theory) a transitional stage after the proletarian revolution in the development of a society from capitalism to communism: characterized by the distribution of income according to work rather than need
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
Cultural definitions for socialism
An economic system in which the production and distribution of goods are controlled substantially by the government rather than by private enterprise, and in which cooperation rather than competition guides economic activity. There are many varieties of socialism. Some socialists tolerate capitalism, as long as the government maintains the dominant influence over the economy; others insist on an abolition of private enterprise. All communists are socialists, but not all socialists are communists.
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.