OED definition of socialism

socialism (sou.Saliz'm). a. Fr. socialisme (1832), or independently f. social a. + -ism. See also next. The early history of the word is somewhat obscure. The first use of Fr. sociaed in common. to have been in the Globe of 13 Feb. 1832, where it was employed in contrast to personnalito. In its modern sense it is variously claimed for Leroux or Reybaud, writing within three or four years after this. A different account, assigning the priority of this use to England, is given in the Encycl. Brit. (1887) XXII. 205; according to this the word originated in 1835 in the discussions of a society founded by Robert Owen.

1. A theory or policy of social organization which aims at or advocates the ownership and control of the means of production, capital, land, property, etc., by the community as a whole, and their administration or distribution in the interests of all.

2. A state of society in which things are held or used in common.


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Last modified: Thursday, 31-May-2007 09:41:42 EDT