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[mal-thoo-zhuh n, -zee-uh n] /mælˈθu ʒən, -zi ən/
of or relating to the theories of T. R. Malthus, which state that population tends to increase faster, at a geometrical ratio, than the means of subsistence, which increases at an arithmetical ratio, and that this will result in an inadequate supply of the goods supporting life unless war, famine, or disease reduces the population or the increase of population is checked.
a follower of Malthus.
Origin of Malthusian
1805-15; Malthus + -ian
Related forms
Malthusianism, noun
anti-Malthusian, adjective, noun
anti-Malthusianism, noun
non-Malthusian, adjective, noun Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2015.
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Examples from the Web for Malthusian
Contemporary Examples
Historical Examples
  • Chalmers's arguments are of interest mainly from their bearing upon his practical application of the Malthusian problem.

  • It was this experience which gave shape to his Malthusian theories.

  • The old Malthusian doctrine has given way before applied science.

    Humanly Speaking Samuel McChord Crothers
  • For some time past infanticide has been common in China as a Malthusian check.

  • Remember the Malthusian doctrine, and that the mind breeds in even more rapid geometrical ratio than the body.

    Ex Voto Samuel Bulter
British Dictionary definitions for Malthusian


of or relating to the theory of Malthus stating that increases in population tend to exceed increases in the means of subsistence and that therefore sexual restraint should be exercised
a supporter of this theory
Derived Forms
Malthusianism, noun
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 Malthusian

1812, from the teachings of English economist Thomas R. Malthus (1766-1835), especially with regard to population increase. As an adjective by 1818. Related: Malthusianism.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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