Definition of demagogue in English:

demagogue

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

noun

  • 1A political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular desires and prejudices rather than by using rational argument.
    More 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.
    More 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.

Derivatives

demagogic

Pronunciation: /ˌdeməˈgäjik, -ˈgägik, -ˈgōjik/
adjective
More 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

Pronunciation: /ˈdeməˌgägərē/
noun
More 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

Pronunciation: /ˈdeməˌgäjē, -ˌgōjē/
noun
More 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.

Origin

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

More definitions of demagogue

Definition of demagogue in:

Get more from Oxford Dictionaries

Subscribe to remove ads and access premium resources

Word of the day coloratura
Pronunciation: ˌkələrəˈto͝orə
noun
elaborate ornamentation of a vocal melody