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.
to treat or manipulate (a political issue) in the manner of a demagogue; obscure or distort with emotionalism, prejudice, etc.
to speak or act like a demagogue.
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023
How to use demagogue in a sentence
If either or both fail to recognize this then a combination of demagogues, political activists and regulators will rush in to fill the vacuum that capitalism and democracy have left behind.The Public Trusts Businesses Over Government to Solve Our Problems. But We Need Both to Try | Colin Mayer | February 3, 2021 | Time
The same cannot be said of the countries ruled by his fellow demagogues who now feign democratic virtue on Twitter.Save the Sarcasm for Other Democracies. America Is Fine | Debasish Roy Chowdhury | January 11, 2021 | Time
Devolving nominations to party voters raised the risks of elevating a demagogue.
Just because a demagogue leaves office doesn’t mean the political fractures he left in his wake will instantly heal.
Essentially, they didn’t want a wild man like a demagogue to get elected.San Diego’s Electoral College Crew Gets Ready to Vote | Randy Dotinga | November 27, 2020 | Voice of San Diego
And despite the urgent optics of the border kids crisis, our D.C. politicos would rather demagogue the issue than deal with it.
Too many politicians would rather demagogue an issue than deal with it.RIP: Obama’s Grand Bargain With the GOP on Entitlements | John Avlon | March 2, 2014 | THE DAILY BEAST
But as a demagogue for whom total power meant all, he realized that to capture Italy he needed the church.
No wonder so many politicians see more upside in demagogue-ing the issue than dealing with it.
But any ambiguous result is easy for a demagogue to spin into a great victory.
There are limitations to what government can accomplish; there are no limitations to what a demagogue can promise.The Two Great Republics: Rome and the United States | James Hamilton Lewis
It often happens that the people are too ready to follow the demagogue and to repudiate and ridicule the honest reformer.The Two Great Republics: Rome and the United States | James Hamilton Lewis
"If men in these days open their mouths to speak for their human rights it's a disturbance," retorted the demagogue.The Landloper | Holman Day
It must be ruled either by the weight and influence of the country gentlemen, or left to the mercy of the demagogue.The Knight Of Gwynne, Vol. II (of II) | Charles James Lever
To divert the attention of the crowd from a demagogue who shouted, 'Clericalism is the great enemy!'The Surprises of Life | Georges Clemenceau
British Dictionary definitions for demagogue
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
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
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.