OED Full Entry Display


communism ko(hook).miuniz'm. f. L. commun-is or Fr. commun common + -ism. In mod.Fr. communisme.


a. A theory which advocates a state of society in which there should be no private ownership, all property being vested in the community and labour organized for the common benefit of all members; the professed principle being that each should work according to his capacity, and receive according to his wants.

`I also conversed [in 1840] with some of the most advanced minds of the French metropolis, and there, in the compan y of some disciples of Babeoeuf, then called Equalitarians, I first pronounced the name of Communism, which has since..acquired that world-wide reputation (Goodwyn Barmby in The Apostle No. i. 1848).

b. spec. A political doctrine or movement based on Marxism and later developed by Lenin, seeking the overthrow of capitalism through a proletarian revolution; = Marxism-Leninism. (Freq. with capital initial.)


a. Applied to any practice which carries out this theory in whole or par t; e.g. that mentioned in Acts ii. 44 seq., as practised in the church of Jerusalem, or that prevailing in monastic communities. spec. The communistic social order established in Russia after the revolution of March 1917, and later in ce rtain associated countries; = Bolshevism. (Freq. with capital initial.) Also transf.


b. Co-ownership of land.

3. Community of feeling; the spirit of a community. rare.

Sometimes improperly used for communalism< /XR>, and the spirit of the commune of Paris, in 1871.


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Last modified: Thursday, 31-May-2007 09:42:39 EDT