Definition of Balkanize in English:

Share this entry


Pronunciation: /ˈbɔːlkənʌɪz/
(also Balkanise)


[with object]
Divide (a region or body) into smaller mutually hostile states or groups: ambitious neighbours would snatch pieces of territory, Balkanizing the country (as adjective Balkanized) the balkanized world of the Senate Banking Committee
More example sentences
  • Meanwhile this often Balkanised city has been united by the Lakers' triumph.
  • But they also Balkanised the research, dividing it up into many different journals, most of which charge for access.
  • Preferential agreements are creating ‘a series of islands or island economic units’ and there is a risk of ‘further Balkanising the global economy.’



Pronunciation: /ˌbɔːlkənʌɪˈzeɪʃ(ə)n/
Example sentences
  • The division of peoples along national, ethnic and religious lines can lead only to a Balkanisation of the continent, with the most terrible consequences.
  • What do we want, a Balkanisation of the country?
  • The drive to create a clearer national identity is also backed by religious leaders who are likewise concerned about the Balkanisation of the country.


1920s: from Balkan Peninsula (where this was done in the late 19th and early 20th century) + -ize.

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: Bal¦kan|ize

Share this entry

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.