Dictionary.com
definitions
  • synonyms

demagogue

or dem·a·gog

[dem-uh-gog, -gawg]
See more synonyms for demagogue on Thesaurus.com
noun
  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.
Show More
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.
Show More
verb (used without object), dem·a·gogued, dem·a·gogu·ing.
  1. to speak or act like a demagogue.
Show More

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 demagogue

Contemporary Examples

Historical Examples

  • And here the demagogue arose and bade her shirk no issue, even the red flag.

    The Prisoner

    Alice Brown

  • The contemptible beast was inspired, as a politician is, a demagogue.

    Romance

    Joseph Conrad and F.M. Hueffer

  • The constituency of the grog seller is the ready made tool of the demagogue.

    The Arena

    Various

  • No one would have the United States play the role of a bully, or enact the demagogue.

    The Arena

    Various

  • Like any other demagogue, he gains attention by his blusterings.


British Dictionary definitions for demagogue

demagogue

sometimes US demagog

noun
  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
Show More

Word Origin

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 demagogue

n.

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.).

Show More

v.

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

Show More
Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper

demagogue in Culture

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.)

Show More
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.