One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
In communist political theory: the belief or doctrine that each separate communist party has the right to full national autonomy and that the Soviet model need not be binding for all communist parties. Also (more generally): a situation involving several important elements or powerful parties; a system or theory having or proposing many centres or focal points.
1950s; earliest use found in Pacific Affairs. From poly- + -centrism, after polycentric.
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