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|What It Means
Balkanise is an often-capitalised verb meaning “to break up (a region, a group, etc.) into smaller and often hostile units.” It can also mean “to divide or compartmentalise.”
|// Opponents argue that the proposed legislation would only serve to Balkanize the country.|
|// Rock is one of many musical genres that has been balkanized into an array of subgenres.|
Examples of BALKANISE
“The so-called Clean Networks Initiative used a ‘trusted-country-of-origin’ requirement to insulate the U.S. from Chinese technology, while pressing American allies to exclude Chinese equipment from their 5G telecom networks. But splitting the digital world in half would balkanize the technical standards that companies and governments use to collaborate across borders, thereby restricting their ability to innovate.” — Andy Purdy, Fortune, 9 May 2021
Did you know
The Balkan Peninsula of southeastern Europe is lapped by the Adriatic Sea in the west and the Black Sea in the east. It is named for the Balkan Mountains, a mountain range which extends across Bulgaria from its border with Serbia to the Black Sea. (Balkan comes from the Ottoman Turkish balḳān, meaning “wooded mountain or mountain range.”)
The Balkan States are commonly characterised as comprising Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Serbia, and Slovenia, with mainland portions of Greece and the European portion of Turkey often being included as well.
The English word, which is often capitalised, is the lexical offspring of geography and history: the decline of the Ottoman Empire in the 18th century led to a series of revolts that accelerated the fracturing of the region into smaller states whose unstable coexistence led to violence that came to a head in World War I. Since the early 20th century, balkanise and its related noun, balkanisation, have come to refer to the kind of divisive action that can weaken countries or groups, among other things.
Merriam Webster Dictionary