Definition of socialism in English:

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Pronunciation: /ˈsəʊʃəlɪz(ə)m/


[mass noun]
1A political and economic theory of social organization which advocates that the means of production, distribution, and exchange should be owned or regulated by the community as a whole.
Example sentences
  • With the advent of Karl Marx, socialism became a science.
  • Since the 1920s, Trotsky fought against the Stalinist theory of socialism in one country.
  • In the end, market socialism does appear attractive on distributional grounds.
1.1Policy or practice based on the political and economic theory of socialism.
Example sentences
  • Alex spells out in some detail how a democratically planned socialism could work, and why to do so it must be an international system.
  • Old models of ‘one party, authoritarian states’ were rejected as incompatible with democratic socialism.
  • However, I am also worried that traditional versions of socialism prioritise industrial development over sustainability.
1.2(In Marxist theory) a transitional social state between the overthrow of capitalism and the realization of Communism.
Example sentences
  • The Russian Revolution itself was but one episode in the transition from capitalism to socialism.
  • You don't seem to know the difference between capitalism, communism and socialism.
  • What is the necessary transitional stage between socialism and Communism?

The term ‘socialism’ has been used to describe positions as far apart as anarchism, Soviet state Communism, and social democracy; however, it necessarily implies an opposition to the untrammelled workings of the economic market. The socialist parties that have arisen in most European countries from the late 19th century have generally tended towards social democracy.


Early 19th century: from French socialisme, from social (see social).

For editors and proofreaders

Line breaks: so¦cial|ism

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