(3 syl.). The political and social scheme of Robert Owen, of Montgomeryshire, who in 1816 published a work to show that society was in a wretched condition, and all its institutions and religious systems were based on wrong principles. The prevailing system is competition, but Owen maintained that the proper principle is co-operation; he therefore advocated a community of property and the abolition of degrees of rank. (1771-1858.)
The Socialists are called also Owenites (3 syl.). In France the Fourierists and St. Simonians are similar sorts of communists, who receive their designations from Fourier and St. Simon (q.v.).
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894