The Meaning of Socialism: What It Is and How To Use It

What does the term socialism mean? This article will detail the meaning of socialism and how to use this word in political contexts.

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There are many political ideologies in the world, but what is the difference between them? This article will cover the definition of socialism, explain how socialism originated in history, list translations of socialism, provide synonyms of socialism, and provide antonyms of socialism. 

If you are confused about what socialists believe, keep reading to learn more!

What Does the Word Socialism Mean?

According to Britannica, socialism is a form of political, economic, and social doctrine that advocates for public ownership and control of property and natural resources, rather than private ownership. In a socialist society, people live in cooperation with each other instead of having individual houses and families. 

The economic system of socialism is diametrically opposed to capitalism, capitalist economies, and the free market economy. In socialism, everyone is responsible for production, and there is no such thing as private property — only public ownership by the citizens.

Socialists believe that capitalism is unfair and exploits the wealth that should be distributed among the people. In a capitalist society, there is a high concentration of the extremely wealthy while many people live below the poverty line. While capitalists may argue that this system of individualism and competition is beneficial, socialists do not agree.

Socialist parties and communist parties oppose industrialists and capitalist society. In modern times, socialists advocate for social equality, universal healthcare, and other forms of this political ideology. Today, there are no truly socialist states, but China, North Korea, Laos, Cuba, and Vietnam are all communist states.

Socialism in History

According to Investopedia, Karl Marx and Friedrich Engels wrote the Communist Manifesto in the 19th century. Communism also opposed capitalism, but socialism existed long before the Marxist-Leninist ideas of the Soviet Union in Eastern Europe. During the Russian Revolution in Russia, Vladimir Lenin brought socialist ideas to a national level.

In places like Britain, France, and Sweden, the economy was booming in the early capitalist economies of the 18th and 19th centuries. This industrial revolution caused some people to become exceedingly wealthy, while others were impoverished. 

The distribution of income left many people in poverty, while the economic activity benefitted other people. In reaction to this, many people became in favor of socialism.

What Are Translations of Socialism?

The concept of socialism is not an exclusively English idea. This ideology did not even originate in an English-speaking country. Therefore, it is clear that many countries around the world will have translations of socialism in their given languages. 

By looking at this list of translations of socialism, you can learn how to communicate about socialism with people who do not speak English. If you are going to be discussing politics, ideologies, or political science, it can be very useful to know translations of socialism.

  • Gujarati: સમાજવાદ
  • Catalan: socialisme
  • Slovak: socializmus
  • Kannada: ಸಮಾಜವಾದ
  • Malay: Sosialisme.
  • Icelandic: sósíalismi
  • Polish: socjalizm
  • Latvian: sociālisms
  • Romanian: socialism
  • Basque: sozialismo
  • Czech: socialismus
  • Urdu: سوشلزم
  • Ukrainian: соціалізм
  • Arabic: الاشتراكية
  • Tamil: சோசலிசம்
  • German: Sozialismus
  • Lithuanian: socializmas
  • Croatian: socijalizam
  • Russian: социализм
  • Welsh: sosialaeth
  • Turkish: sosyalizm
  • Thai: สังคมนิยม
  • French: socialisme
  • Chinese (PRC): 社会主义
  • Slovenian: Socializem
  • Indonesian: sosialisme
  • Portuguese (Portugal): socialismo
  • Bulgarian: социализъм
  • Marathi: सामाजिकता
  • Korean: 사회주의
  • Italian: socialismo
  • Greek: σολιαλισμός
  • Amharic: ሶሻሊዝም
  • Finnish: sosialismi
  • Dutch: socialisme
  • Vietnamese: chủ nghĩa xã hội
  • Malayalam: സ്ഥിതിസമതവാദം
  • Danish: socialisme
  • Chinese (Taiwan): 社會主義
  • Bengali: সমাজতন্ত্র
  • Swedish: socialism
  • Estonian: sotsialism
  • Norwegian: sosialisme
  • Filipino: sosyalismo
  • Swahili: Ujamaa
  • Telugu: సోషలిజం
  • Japanese: 社会主義
  • Hindi: समाजवाद
  • Portuguese (Brazil): socialismo
  • Hungarian: szocializmus
  • Serbian: социјализам
  • Spanish: socialismo
  • Hebrew: סוֹצִיאָלִיזם

What Are Synonyms of the Word Socialism?

Socialism is a fairly specific political ideology. However, there are many ways that people can describe other political ideologies that are similar to socialism or incorporate socialist ideas. 

According to Power Thesaurus, the below synonyms of socialism are all valid. Try using one of these synonyms of socialism in a sentence today!

  • absolutism
  • anarchism
  • anarcho-syndicalism
  • arbitrariness
  • aristocracy
  • ascendancy
  • ascendency
  • autarchy
  • authoritarianism
  • bolshevism
  • classless society
  • collective ownership
  • collectivism
  • commonwealth
  • communalism
  • communion
  • communism
  • consumer socialism
  • cooperation
  • dominion
  • fabianism
  • government-owned property
  • labor movement
  • labourism
  • leftism
  • Leninism
  • liberalism
  • Maoism
  • marxism
  • national socialism
  • neo-marxism
  • neofascism
  • oligarchy
  • progressivism
  • public domain
  • public ownership
  • radicalism
  • rule of the proletariat
  • social democracy
  • socialist economy
  • socialist government
  • socialistic
  • sovietism
  • Stalinism
  • state ownership
  • state socialism
  • statism
  • syndicalism
  • totalitarianism
  • Trotskyism
  • utopian socialism

What Are Antonyms of the Word Socialism?

Power Thesaurus also provides numerous different words that are opposites of socialism. These are called antonyms and refer to political ideologies and governments that do not advocate for a shared society. 

Many of these antonyms of socialism are like fascism and advocate for one ruler or a dictatorship, while others refer to more capitalist-focused societies. How many of these antonyms of socialism do you already know?

  • absolute rule
  • absolutism
  • anti-multiculturism
  • anti-semitism
  • apartheid
  • autarchy
  • authoritarianism
  • autocracy
  • bigotry
  • brutality
  • bullying
  • bureaucracy
  • chauvinism
  • colonialism
  • cruelty
  • decadence
  • despotism
  • dictatorship
  • discrimination
  • domination
  • enslavement
  • ethno-nationalism
  • ethnocentrism
  • fascism
  • fascist
  • fatism
  • fattism
  • garrison state
  • harshness
  • high-handedness
  • imperiousness
  • injustice
  • iron hand
  • isolationism
  • jingoism
  • monarchy
  • monocracy
  • monoculturalism
  • national independence
  • national socialism
  • nationalism
  • nazism
  • neo-fascism
  • neo-nazism
  • neofascism
  • neutralism
  • one-man rule
  • one-party system
  • oppression
  • party government
  • racism
  • regimentation
  • reign of terror
  • repression
  • rightism
  • segregation
  • severity
  • sovereign nationhood
  • sovereignty
  • stagnation
  • subjugation
  • terrorism
  • totalitarianism
  • tyrannies
  • tyranny
  • undemocratic rule
  • xenophobia


Socialism is a form of political and economic ideology. In socialism, people believe in a completely shared society. There is no individualism and no private property, and everyone contributes to society equally. Socialism is similar to communism because both of them oppose capitalism. It is the opposite of fascism, which is a singular dictatorship.


  1. Socialism synonyms – 182 Words and Phrases for Socialism | Power Thesaurus
  2. Socialism Definition: History, Theory, & Analysis | Investopedia 
  3. socialism | Definition, History, Types, Examples, & Facts | Britannica
  4. Fascism synonyms – 220 Words and Phrases for Fascism | Power Thesaurus