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  • (US) IPA(key): /aɪ.di.ˈɑl.əd.ʒi/, /ɪ.di.ˈɑl.əd.ʒi/


From French idéologie, from idéo- + -logie (equivalent to English ideo- +‎ -logy). Coined 1796 by Destutt de Tracy.[1][2] Modern sense of “doctrine” attributed to use of related idéologue (ideologue) by Napoleon Bonaparte as a term of abuse towards political opponents in early 1800s.


ideology (plural ideologies)

  1. Doctrine, philosophy, body of beliefs or principles belonging to an individual or group.
  2. The study of the origin and nature of ideas.

Usage notes[edit]

Original meaning “study of ideas” (following the etymology), today primarily used to mean “doctrine”. For example “communist ideology” generally refers to “communist doctrine”; study of communist ideas instead being “communist philosophy”, or more clearly “philosophy of communism”; only rarely “ideology of communism”.

Related terms[edit]


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  1. ^ Kennedy, Emmet (1979) “Ideology” from Destutt De Tracy to Marx, Journal of the History of Ideas, Vol. 40, No. 3 (Jul.–Sep., 1979), pp. 353–368
  2. ^ Hart, David M. (2002) Destutt De Tracy: Annotated Bibliography