An ideology is a set of opinions or beliefs of a group or an individual. Very often ideology refers to a set of political beliefs or a set of ideas that characterize a particular culture.

Capitalism, communism, socialism, and Marxism are ideologies. But not all -ism words are. Think: cronyism (a system of graft whereby friends unfairly help each other make money.) Our English noun is from French idéologie. The suffix –logy, used with many English words describing theories or doctrines, is from Greek logos "word, reason, speech, account."

Definitions of ideology
  1. noun
    an orientation that characterizes the thinking of a group or nation
    synonyms: political orientation, political theory
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    absolutism, totalism, totalitarianism
    the principle of complete and unrestricted power in government
    a political theory favoring the abolition of governments
    a political theory favoring unlimited authority by a single individual
    centrism, moderatism
    a political philosophy of avoiding the extremes of left and right by taking a moderate position or course of action
    a political theory that the people should own the means of production
    a political theory favoring collectivism in a classless society
    conservatism, conservativism
    a political or theological orientation advocating the preservation of the best in society and opposing radical changes
    a political orientation favoring political or racial segregation
    advocacy of a system of government according to constitutional principles
    the political orientation of those who favor government by the people or by their elected representatives
    social democracy
    the belief in a gradual transition from capitalism to socialism by democratic means
    domino theory
    the political theory that if one nation comes under communist control then neighboring nations will also come under communist control
    the attitude that society should be governed by an elite group of individuals
    any political theory favoring immoderate uncompromising policies
    a political theory advocating an authoritarian hierarchical government (as opposed to democracy or liberalism)
    the idea of a federal organization of more or less self-governing units
    a political orientation that advocates imperial interests
    the ideology of the political left; belief in or support of the tenets of the political left
    a political orientation that favors social progress by reform and by changing laws rather than by revolution
    the belief that rulers should be chosen for their superior abilities and not because of their wealth or birth
    an ideological belief in freedom of thought and speech
    a belief in and advocacy of monarchy as a political system
    an ideological position that holds Black culture to be independent and valid on its own terms; an affirmation of the African cultural heritage
    the political philosophy of the Orleanists
    the political orientation of those who favor progress toward better conditions in government and society
    the political orientation of those who favor revolutionary change in government and society
    the political orientation of reactionaries
    the political orientation of those who hold that a republic is the best form of government
    the ideology of the political right; belief in or support of the tenets of the political right
    a political theory advocating state ownership of industry
    the belief in government by divine guidance
    the political orientation of a Utopian who believes in impossibly idealistic schemes of social perfection
    any political orientation favoring compromise to avoid conflict
    any political orientation favoring aggressive policies
    the political doctrine of Machiavelli: any means (however unscrupulous) can be used by a ruler in order to create and maintain his autocratic government
    a form of communism developed in Cuba by Fidel Castro
    Leninism, Marxism-Leninism
    the political and economic theories of Lenin which provided the guiding doctrine of the Soviet Union; the modification of Marxism by Lenin stressed that imperialism is the highest form of capitalism (which shifts the struggle from developed to underdeveloped countries)
    a form of communism developed in China by Mao Zedong
    the economic and political theories of Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels that hold that human actions and institutions are economically determined and that class struggle is needed to create historical change and that capitalism will ultimately be superseded by communism
    the form of communism advocated by Leon Trotsky; calls for immediate worldwide revolution by the proletariat
    an approach to politics or theology that represents a return to a traditional point of view (in contrast to more liberal or radical schools of thought of the 1960s)
    extreme conservatism in political or social matters
    a political orientation originating in the 1960s; blends liberal political views with an emphasis on economic growth
    the ideology of the most radical element of the French Revolution that instituted the Reign of Terror
    socialism to be established by gradual reforms within the law
    guild socialism
    a form of socialist theory advocating state ownership of industry but managements by guilds of workers
    utopian socialism
    socialism achieved by voluntary sacrifice
    peace advocacy
    any policy that advocates maintaining peaceful international relations
    a political orientation of a people or a government to maintain a strong military force and to be prepared to use it aggressively to defend or promote national interests
    war advocacy, warmongering
    a policy of advocating war
    Naziism, Nazism, national socialism
    a form of socialism featuring racism and expansionism and obedience to a strong leader
    type of:
    an integrated set of attitudes and beliefs
  2. noun
    imaginary or visionary theorization
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    type of:
    theorisation, theorization
    the production or use of theories
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