• synonyms


or dem·a·gog

[dem-uh-gog, -gawg]
  1. a person, especially an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.
  2. (in ancient times) a leader of the people.
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verb (used with object), dem·a·gogued, dem·a·gogu·ing.
  1. to treat or manipulate (a political issue) in the manner of a demagogue; obscure or distort with emotionalism, prejudice, etc.
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verb (used without object), dem·a·gogued, dem·a·gogu·ing.
  1. to speak or act like a demagogue.
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Origin of demagogue

1640–50; < Greek dēmagōgós a leader of the people, popular leader, equivalent to dêm(os) people + agōgós leading, guiding; see -agogue
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

Examples from the Web for demagog

Historical Examples of demagog

  • Moreover, the demagog and the corruptionist often work hand in hand.

    State of the Union Addresses of Theodore Roosevelt

    Theodore Roosevelt

British Dictionary definitions for demagog


sometimes US demagog

  1. a political agitator who appeals with crude oratory to the prejudice and passions of the mob
  2. (esp in the ancient world) any popular political leader or orator
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Word Origin for demagogue

C17: from Greek dēmagōgos people's leader, from dēmos people + agein to lead
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition © William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012

Word Origin and History for demagog



by 1964, American English, from demagogue (n.). Related: Demagogued; demagoguing.

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1640s, from Greek demagogos "popular leader," also "leader of the mob," from demos "people" (see demotic) + agogos "leader," from agein "to lead" (see act (n.)). Often a term of disparagement since the time of its first use, in Athens, 5c. B.C.E. Form perhaps influenced by French demagogue (mid-14c.).

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

demagog in Culture


[(dem-uh-gog, dem-uh-gawg)]

A politician who seeks to win and hold office by appeals to mass prejudice. Demagogues often use lies and distortion. (See Adolf Hitler and Joseph Stalin.)

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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.