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Definition of Confucianism

(noun) The ethical and philosophical system based on the teachings of Confucius (551–479 BCE), a Chinese philosopher, who emphasized devotion to family (including ancestor worship); education; love for humanity; and morality.

Confucianism Pronunciation

Pronunciation Usage Guide

Syllabification: Con·fu·cian·ism

Audio Pronunciation

– American English
– British English

Phonetic Spelling

  • American English – /kuhn-fyOO-shuh-niz-uhm/
  • British English – /kuhn-fyOO-shuh-ni-zuhm/

International Phonetic Alphabet

  • American English – /kənˈfjuʃəˌnɪzəm/
  • British English – /kənˈfjuːʃənɪz(ə)m/

Usage Notes

  • Plural: Confucianisms
  • Whether Confucianism is a religion or something akin to an ethical system is often debated.
  • A type of belief system and cosmogony.
  • A (noun) Confucianist follows (adjective) Confucian principles.

Additional Information

Related Terms

Works Consulted

The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language. 5th ed. 2011. Boston: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt.

Kimmel, Michael S., and Amy Aronson. 2012. Sociology Now. Boston: Allyn & Bacon.

Macionis, John, and Kenneth Plummer. 2012. Sociology: A Global Introduction. 4th ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Marsh, Ian, and Mike Keating, eds. 2006. Sociology: Making Sense of Society. 3rd ed. Harlow, England: Pearson Education.

Oxford University Press. (N.d.) Oxford Dictionaries. (https://www.oxforddictionaries.com/).

Shepard, Jon M., and Robert W. Greene. 2003. Sociology and You. New York: Glencoe.

Wikipedia contributors. (N.d.) Wikipedia, The Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. (https://en.wikipedia.org/).

Cite the Definition of Confucianism

ASA – American Sociological Association (5th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “Confucianism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Retrieved March 5, 2024 (https://sociologydictionary.org/confucianism/).

APA – American Psychological Association (6th edition)

Confucianism. (2013). In K. Bell (Ed.), Open education sociology dictionary. Retrieved from https://sociologydictionary.org/confucianism/

Chicago/Turabian: Author-Date – Chicago Manual of Style (16th edition)

Bell, Kenton, ed. 2013. “Confucianism.” In Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Accessed March 5, 2024. https://sociologydictionary.org/confucianism/.

MLA – Modern Language Association (7th edition)

“Confucianism.” Open Education Sociology Dictionary. Ed. Kenton Bell. 2013. Web. 5 Mar. 2024. <https://sociologydictionary.org/confucianism/>.