Share this entry

Share this page

demagogue

Syllabification: dem·a·gogue
Pronunciation: /ˈdeməˌɡäɡ
 
/

Definition of demagogue in English:

noun

1A political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.
Example sentences
  • In an attempt to divert the resulting social unrest, Stalinist bureaucrats and communalist demagogues fomented nationalist sentiments while seeking patrons among the major powers.
  • But that a fascist demagogue could receive considerable support among workers is cause for great concern.
  • A return to national self-determination, he believes, would take the feet from under the new nationalist demagogues and bolster democratic politics in the historic nations of Europe.
Synonyms
rabble-rouser, agitator, political agitator, soapbox orator, firebrand, fomenter, provocateur
1.1(In ancient Greece and Rome) a leader or orator who espoused the cause of the common people.
Example sentences
  • The masses were, in brief, shortsighted, selfish and fickle, an easy prey to unscrupulous orators who came to be known as demagogues.
  • The fear was that a charismatic leader could use the office of tribune, with its base of power in the common citizen, to become a demagogue.
  • School children are taught that democracy in ancient Greece failed because demagogues whipped up mobs.

Origin

mid 17th century: from Greek dēmagōgos, from dēmos 'the people' + agōgos 'leading' (from agein 'to lead').

Derivatives

demagogic

1
Pronunciation: /ˌdeməˈɡäjik, -ˈɡäɡik, -ˈɡōjik/
adjective
Example sentences
  • Scapegoats have been created in a demagogic and provocative fashion in order to justify the strengthening of existing laws.
  • Overall, this stance of ‘solve X and Y before you tackle Z’ comes across to me as mere demagogic rhetoric, the end result of which will be that X, Y, and Z will remain unsolved.
  • To describe this film as dishonest and demagogic would almost be to promote these terms to the level of respectability.

demagoguery

2
Pronunciation: /ˈdeməˌɡäɡərē/
noun
Example sentences
  • We are against demagoguery, dishonesty, short-sightedness, superstition, fundamentalism, unequal rights, and violent argument.
  • Where such traditions are absent or weak, popular sovereignty easily turns into populist dictatorship, liberal democracy to libertinism and demagoguery.
  • It's also because decades of right-wing demagoguery have succeeded in making the word ‘liberal’ a pejorative term to swing voters.

demagogy

3
Pronunciation: /ˈdeməˌɡäjē, -ˌɡōjē/
noun
Example sentences
  • The closest we get to your representation of consumer capitalism is the strategy of pattern recognition, but even that is still miles away from your neoliberal demagogy.
  • Paranoia can be fun as a plot device. As national policy, however, it is extraordinarily dangerous, leading to the worst sort of demagogy and extremism.
  • Many cling to this illusion, giving rise to personality cults that eventually lead to demagogy and authoritarianism.

Definition of demagogue in:

Share this entry

Share this page

 

What do you find interesting about this word or phrase?

Comments that don't adhere to our Community Guidelines may be moderated or removed.

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day jaunt
Pronunciation: jônt
noun
a short excursion or journey for pleasure