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[im-peer-ee-uh-liz-uh m] /ɪmˈpɪər i əˌlɪz əm/

the policy of extending the rule or authority of an or nation over foreign countries, or of acquiring and holding colonies and dependencies.
advocacy of or sovereign interests over the interests of the dependent states.
imperial government; rule by an emperor or empress.
an imperial system of government.
British. the policy of so uniting the separate parts of an empire with separate governments as to secure for certain purposes a single state.
the policy or practice of extending a state’s rule over other territories
an instance or policy of aggressive behaviour by one state against another
the extension or attempted extension of authority, influence, power, etc, by any person, country, institution, etc: cultural imperialism
a system of imperial government or rule by an emperor
the spirit, character, authority, etc, of an empire
advocacy of or support for any form of imperialism

1872, from imperial + -istic. Also see imperialist.

1826, “advocacy of empire,” originally in a Napoleonic context, also of Rome and of British foreign policy, from imperial + -ism. At times in British usage (and briefly in U.S.) with a neutral or positive sense relating to national interests or the spread of the benefits of Western civilization, but from the begining usually more or less a term of reproach. General sense of “one country’s rule over another,” first recorded 1878. Picked up disparagingly in Communist jargon by 1918.

It is the old story of 1798, when French republicanism sick of its own folly and misdeeds, became metamorphosed into imperialism, and consoled itself for its incapacity to found domestic freedom by putting an iron yoke upon Europe, and covering it with blood and battle-fields. [Francis Lloyd, “St. James’s Magazine,” January 1842]

Acquisition by a government of other governments or territories, or of economic or cultural power over other nations or territories, often by force. Colonialism is a form of imperialism.


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