brainwashing

or brain-wash·ing, brain wash·ing

[ breyn-wosh-ing, -waw-shing ]
/ ˈbreɪnˌwɒʃ ɪŋ, -ˌwɔ ʃɪŋ /

noun

a method for systematically changing attitudes or altering beliefs, originated in totalitarian countries, especially through the use of torture, drugs, or psychological-stress techniques.
any method of controlled systematic indoctrination, especially one based on repetition or confusion: brainwashing by TV commercials.
an instance of subjecting or being subjected to such techniques: efforts to halt the brainwashing of captive audiences.

QUIZZES

WHO SAID IT: A QUIZ ON PRESIDENTIAL WIT AND WISDOM

Think you know your presidents? Take this quiz and see if you can match the style, wit, and ideology of these memorable lines to the right POTUS.
Question 1 of 9
“I do believe that the buck stops here, that I cannot rely upon public opinion polls to tell me what is right. I do believe that right makes might and that if I am wrong, 10 angels swearing I was right would make no difference.”

Origin of brainwashing

First recorded in 1945–50; brain + washing
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2020

Example sentences from the Web for brainwashing

Medical definitions for brainwashing

brainwashing
[ brānwŏsh′ĭng ]

n.

Inducing a person to modify his or her beliefs, attitudes, or behavior by conditioning through various forms of pressure or torture.
The American Heritage® Stedman's Medical Dictionary Copyright © 2002, 2001, 1995 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Company.

Cultural definitions for brainwashing

brainwashing

Indoctrination that forces people to abandon their beliefs in favor of another set of beliefs. Usually associated with military and political interrogation and religious conversion, brainwashing attempts, through prolonged stress, to break down an individual's physical and mental defenses. Brainwashing techniques range from vocal persuasion and threats to punishment, physical deprivation, mind-altering drugs, and severe physical torture.

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.