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From state +‎ -ism. Doublet of etatism.



statism (countable and uncountable, plural statisms)

  1. (often derogatory) The belief that most or all political power should be centralized in national governments.
    Synonyms: etatism, big government, dirigisme, paternalism
    • 1890, W.D.P. Bliss, What is Christian Socialism?, page 21:
      Bismarck... believes in State insurance in State activities, in place of individual action. But this is not Socialism. It is Statism.
    • 1940 November 5, The Sun, Baltimore, p. 5:
      Republican Senator Charles L. McNary concluded his Vice-Presidential campaign tonight with the charge the New Deal is ‘taking deeper and deeper refuge in paternalism and statism’.
    • 1971 January 10, Stan Lehr, Louis Rossetto, “The New Right Credo–Libertarianism”, in The New York Times[1], →ISSN:
      As the economic derivative of libertarianism, laissez-faire capitalism is an economics of life, of rationality. [] And, like libertarianism, it is the only viable solution to the catastrophe of statism in the modern age.
    • 1996, Louis Rossetto, “19th Century Nostrums are not Solutions to 21st Century Problems”, in Mute, volume 1, number 4, →ISSN:
      [] ; social welfare policies reward parasitical living rather than risk-taking; a truly atavistic, sick attachment to the compulsion and non-meritocratic elitism of statism as a way of life; [] have all retarded and will continue to retard Europeans.
  2. (often derogatory, uncommon) The belief that most or nearly all political power should be decentralized to provincial governments.
    Synonyms: regionalism, federalism, provincialism
    • 1854 July 1, The Times, London, p. 9:
      The joint note of Austria and Prussia... appears thus to have worked more good than moderation and good sense generally achieve over faction and petty-Statism.
    • 1875, A.H. Bullock, Intellectual Leadership Illustrated in American History, page 37:
      To him... we owe that sentiment of nationalism prevailing over statism... without which the Union would have parted.
  3. (rare, obsolete) Synonym of statecraft or statesmanship.
    • 1608, J. F. Le Petit, translated by Edward Grimeston, General History of the Netherlands, page 1113:
      My great Cousin hauing euermore
      From my greene yeares accepted my aduise
      In points of statisme...
  4. (derogatory, obsolete) Synonym of secularism: subservience of religious issues to political officials and expediency.
    • 1609, William Barlow, An Answer to a Catholike English-man, page 370:
      Religion turned into Statisme, will soone prooue Atheisme.
  5. (obsolete) Synonym of government or governance.
    • 1839, John Hobart Caunter, Poetry of the Pentateuch, page 189:
      [The Ten Commandments] have formed the basis of every system of statism adopted by the civilized communities of the earth.


Derived terms[edit]





Borrowed from French statisme.


statism n (uncountable)

  1. stasis (state of motionlessness)