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[an-er-kiz-uh m] /ˈæn ərˌkɪz əm/
a doctrine urging the abolition of government or governmental restraint as the indispensable condition for full social and political liberty.
the methods or practices of anarchists, as the use of violence to undermine government.
Origin of anarchism
1635-45; anarch(y) + -ism
Related forms
proanarchism, noun
semianarchism, noun
Can be confused
anarchism, anarchy. Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for anarchism
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • anarchism is no more thinkable or workable in religion than in politics.

    The Church and Modern Life Washington Gladden
  • Or perhaps you are troubled about the charge that Socialism and anarchism are related.

  • Godwin does not call his teaching about law, the State, and property "anarchism."

    Anarchism Paul Eltzbacher
  • The third clause was about the growth and spread of anarchism.

    The Eternal City Hall Caine
  • The movement is divided into two main branches—socialism proper, or collectivism, as it is sometimes called, and anarchism.

  • The claims, programme, and aims of Socialism and anarchism are curiously alike.

    British Socialism J. Ellis Barker
  • It is not my fault if anarchism and syndicalism have the same ends in view.

    Syndicalism in France Louis Levine
British Dictionary definitions for anarchism


(political theory) a doctrine advocating the abolition of government
the principles or practice of anarchists
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
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Word Origin and History for anarchism

1640s; see anarchy + -ism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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anarchism in Culture
anarchism [(an-uhr-kiz-uhm)]

The belief that all existing governmental authority should be abolished and replaced by free cooperation among individuals.

Note: Anarchy is sometimes used to refer to any state of chaos or lawlessness.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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