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  • (US) IPA(key): /aɪ.di.ˈɑl.ə.dʒi/, /ɪ.di.ˈɑl.ə.dʒi/


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