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From Ancient Greek ἡγεμονία (hēgemonía, supremacy or leadership, chief command), from ἡγεμών (hēgemṓn, a leader, guide, commander, chief), from ἡγέομαι (hēgéomai, to lead). Early 19th-century usage influenced by German Hegemonie.


  • (Received Pronunciation) IPA(key): /hɪˈd͡ʒɛm.ə.ni/, /hɪˈɡɛm.ə.ni/
  • (US) IPA(key): /hɪˈd͡ʒɛm.ə.ni/, /ˈhɛd͡ʒ.ə.moʊ.ni/
    • (file)


hegemony (countable and uncountable, plural hegemonies)

  1. (formal) Domination, influence, or authority over another, especially by one political group over a society or by one nation over others.
    • 1820 [1819], “Germany and the Revolution”, in anonymous translator, The Pamphleteer[1], volume xxv, number 30, London, translation of Teutschland und die Revolution by J[oseph] Görres, page 572:
      The idea of a German republic and confederacy like the American, is surely less fantastical than a hegemony to which nobody is willing to submit.
  2. Dominance of one social group over another, such that the ruling group or hegemon acquires some degree of consent from the subordinate, as opposed to dominance purely by force.
    The two political parties battled viciously for hegemony.

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