[ dem-uh-gog, -gawg ]
/ ˈdɛm əˌgɒg, -ˌgɔg /
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a person, especially an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.
(in ancient times) a leader of the people.
verb (used with object), dem·a·gogued, dem·a·gogu·ing.
to treat or manipulate (a political issue) in the manner of a demagogue; obscure or distort with emotionalism, prejudice, etc.
verb (used without object), dem·a·gogued, dem·a·gogu·ing.
to speak or act like a demagogue.
THINGAMABOB OR THINGUMMY: CAN YOU DISTINGUISH BETWEEN THE US AND UK TERMS IN THIS QUIZ?
Do you know the difference between everyday US and UK terminology? Test yourself with this quiz on words that differ across the Atlantic.
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In the UK, COTTON CANDY is more commonly known as…
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. 2023
How to use demagogue in a sentence
When Jackson was chosen, his opponents saw in him a rude and ignorant demagog.The Negro and the Nation|George S. Merriam
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 demagogue
sometimes US demagog
/ (ˈdɛməˌɡɒɡ) /
a political agitator who appeals with crude oratory to the prejudice and passions of the mob
(esp in the ancient world) any popular political leader or orator
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
Cultural definitions for demagogue
[ (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.)
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.