Let's Compare Colonialism and Imperialism


Colonialism is the establishment, exploitation, maintenance, acquisition and expansion of colonies in one territory by people from another territory.

colonialism n : exploitation by a stronger country of weaker one; the use of the weaker country's resources to strengthen and enrich the stronger country

96 Moby Thesaurus words for "colonialism": Eisenhower Doctrine, Monroe Doctrine, Nixon Doctrine, Truman Doctrine, absolute monarchy, appeasement, aristocracy, autarchy, autocracy, autonomy, balance of power, brinkmanship, coalition government, coexistence, commonwealth, compromise, constitutional government, constitutional monarchy, containment, democracy, detente, deterrence, dictatorship, diplomacy, diplomatic, diplomatics, dollar diplomacy, dollar imperialism, dominion rule, duarchy, duumvirate, dyarchy, expansionism, federal government, federation, feudal system, foreign affairs, foreign policy, garrison state, gerontocracy, good-neighbor policy, heteronomy, hierarchy, hierocracy, home rule, imperialism, internationalism, isolationism, limited monarchy, manifest destiny, martial law, meritocracy, militarism, military government, mob rule, mobocracy, monarchy, nationalism, neocolonialism, neutralism, nonresistance, ochlocracy, oligarchy, open door, open-door policy, pantisocracy, patriarchate, patriarchy, peace offensive, peaceful coexistence, police state, preparedness, pure democracy, regency, representative democracy, representative government, republic, self-determination, self-government, shirt-sleeve diplomacy, shuttle diplomacy, social democracy, spheres of influence, stratocracy, technocracy, the big stick, thearchy, theocracy, totalitarian government, totalitarian regime, tough policy, triarchy, triumvirate, tyranny, welfare state, world politics

Colonialism \Co*lo"ni*al*ism\, n. 1. The state or quality of, or the relationship involved in, being colonial. The last tie of colonialism which bound us to the mother country is broken. --Brander Matthews. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 2. A custom, idea, feature of government, or the like, characteristic of a colony. [Webster 1913 Suppl.] 3. The colonial system of political government or extension of territory, by which one nation exerts political control over another nation, territory, or people, maintaining the colony in a state of dependence, its inhabitants not having the same full rights as those of the colonial power. The controlling power is typically extended thus by military force or the threat of force. [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC] 4. the political or ideological system of beliefs advocating or justifying colonial control of one nation over another nation, territory, or people. [PJC]


Imperialism, as defined by the Dictionary of Human Geography, is "an unequal human and territorial relationship, usually in the form of an empire, based on ideas of superiority and practices of dominance, and involving the extension of authority and control of one state or people over another." It is often considered in a negative light, as merely the exploitation of native people in order to enrich a small handful.

imperialism n 1: a policy of extending your rule over foreign countries 2: a political orientation that advocates imperial interests 3: any instance of aggressive extension of authority

83 Moby Thesaurus words for "imperialism": Eisenhower Doctrine, Monroe Doctrine, Nazism, Nixon Doctrine, Truman Doctrine, appeasement, balance of power, brinkmanship, caliphate, centralism, coexistence, collectivism, colonialism, communism, compromise, constitutionalism, containment, czardom, democratism, detente, deterrence, diplomacy, diplomatic, diplomatics, dollar diplomacy, dollar imperialism, emperorship, empery, empire, expansionism, fascism, federalism, feudalism, feudality, foreign affairs, foreign policy, good-neighbor policy, governmentalism, internationalism, isolationism, kaiserdom, kaisership, kinghood, kingship, majesty, manifest destiny, militarism, monarchism, national socialism, nationalism, neocolonialism, neofascism, neutralism, nonresistance, open door, open-door policy, parliamentarianism, parliamentarism, peace offensive, peaceful coexistence, pluralism, political principles, preparedness, queenhood, queenship, rajaship, regnancy, republicanism, royalism, royalty, shirt-sleeve diplomacy, shuttle diplomacy, socialism, sovereignty, spheres of influence, statism, sultanate, sultanship, the big stick, the crown, the throne, tough policy, world politics

Imperialism \Im*pe"ri*al*ism\, n. 1. The power or character of an emperor; imperial authority; the spirit of empire. [1913 Webster] Roman imperialism had divided the world. --C. H. Pearson. [1913 Webster] 2. The policy, practice, or advocacy of seeking, or acquiescing in, the extension of the control, dominion, or empire of a nation, as by the acquirement of new, esp. distant, territory or dependencies, or by the closer union of parts more or less independent of each other for operations of war, copyright, internal commerce, etc. The practise of building or extending an empire. [Webster 1913 Suppl. +PJC] The tide of English opinion began to turn about 1870, and since then it has run with increasing force in the direction of what is called imperialism. --James Bryce. [Webster 1913 Suppl.]

Data Sources:

  • colonialism: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • colonialism: Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0
  • colonialism: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44
  • imperialism: WordNet (r) 2.0
  • imperialism: Moby Thesaurus II by Grady Ward, 1.0
  • imperialism: The Collaborative International Dictionary of English v.0.44

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Your Comparisons - Colonialism And Imperialism