One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
1Chiefly in the phraseology of communism and socialism: advocacy of imperialist foreign policy while claiming to support socialism.
2Specifically. Socialist policies used to disguise imperialist ambitions. Now historical.
3Politics. A combination of an imperialist foreign policy and programmes of social reform, frequently introduced in order to quell internal social upheaval.
Early 20th century; earliest use found in Communist. From social + imperialism. In sense 1a probably after Russian social-imperializm; compare slightly earlier social imperialist.
social imperialism/ˌsəʊʃl ɪmˈpɪərɪəlɪz(ə)m/
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