[ fash-ist ]
/ ˈfæʃ ɪst /
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a person who believes in or sympathizes with fascism.
(often initial capital letter) a member of a fascist movement or party.
a person who is dictatorial or has extreme right-wing views.
Also fa·scis·tic [fuh-shis-tik]. /fəˈʃɪs tɪk/. of or like fascism or fascists.
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Origin of fascist

First recorded in 1915–20; from Italian fascista, equivalent to fasc(io) (see fascism) + -ista -ist



communist, fascist , Marxist, socialist
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2023


What does fascist mean?

A fascist is someone who supports or promotes fascism—a system of government led by a dictator who typically rules by forcefully and often violently suppressing opposition and criticism, controlling all industry and commerce, and promoting nationalism and often racism.

The words fascist and fascism are sometimes capitalized, especially when they specifically refer to the dictatorship of Benito Mussolini in Italy from 1922 to 1943, or authoritarian systems similar to his, including those of Adolf Hitler in Germany and Francisco Franco in Spain.

Fascism can also refer to an ideology based on this form of rule, or to the use of its methods. More broadly, fascism is used to refer to any ideology or movement seen as authoritarian, nationalistic, and extremely right wing, especially when fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism.

The term fascist can be a noun referring generally to someone who has such views, or, more specifically, to a member of such a government or movement. Fascist can also be used as an adjective describing something involving or promoting fascism.

Apart from their literal (and often capitalized) use to refer to the regime of Mussolini, the words fascism and fascist are typically used negatively as a criticism of such practices and ideologies—fascists typically avoid calling themselves fascists due to the negative history associated with the terms.

That history includes the rise of fascism in the 1920s and ’30s, the Holocaust perpetrated by Hitler and the Nazis, and other atrocities and oppression committed under fascist regimes. Interest in the history of fascism and the word itself has increased in the 21st century, along with a global rise of nationalism and movements associated with fascism.

Where does fascist come from?

The first records of the word fascist in English come from right before the 1920s. It comes from the Italian fascista, from fascio, meaning “political group.” Mussolini formed these small political groups into a political party, Partito Nazionale Fascista—the National Fascist Party. Fascist and the Italian fascio ultimately derive from the Latin fascis, meaning “bundle” (the plural form is fasces). In ancient Rome, fasces consisted of a bundle of rods with an axe blade sticking out. This was used as a symbol of a government official’s power. The Italian fascists brought back the fasces as a symbol of their brand of nationalism, which became known as fascism. The suffix -ism indicates a doctrine or set of principles, and -ist indicates a person who adheres to this doctrine or principles.

As an ideology, fascism typically centers around extreme nationalism and an opposition to democracy and liberalism. In practice, fascism revolves around a ruler who uses absolute power to suppress the individual freedom of citizens, making everyone completely subject to the power of the state. To achieve this, fascism often uses violent methods for political ends. In the context of a fascist government, this often involves the use of the military against citizens.

Fascist leaders typically gain support by appealing to people’s nationalism and racism, especially by promoting suspicion or hatred of people that they label as foreigners or otherwise cast as illegitimate citizens—as Hitler did with the Jews in Germany. Such leaders often reinforce these themes among their followers with rallies and mass parades (developing what’s sometimes called a cult of personality).

Fascism is often considered a form of totalitarianism, in which the government controls almost every aspect of ordinary life. (Some left-wing forms of government, such as forms of communism, are also considered to be totalitarian.)

Today, the terms fascist and fascism are often applied in a general way to practices that resemble those of military dictatorships, especially when based on nationalism, racism, and authoritarian rule.

What does antifascist mean?

An antifascist is a person who actively opposes fascism. (Antifascism is active opposition to fascism). Antifascist can also be used as an adjective to describe such actions or opposition. The first antifascist groups were those opposed to the rule of Mussolini, but there have been many others since then. The term antifascist is the basis of the word Antifa, which typically refers to a movement that opposes fascism.

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What are some other forms related to fascist?

  • fascistic (adjective)
  • fascistically (adverb)
  • antifascist (noun, adjective)
  • profascist (noun, adjective)
  • fascitize (verb)
  • fascism (noun)

What are some words that share a root or word element with fascist

What are some words that often get used in discussing fascist?

How is fascist used in real life?

The word fascist is used in both specific and general ways in the context of governments and ideologies based on fascism. As both an adjective and a noun, it’s typically used in a critical way due to the violence and racism associated with fascism.

How to use fascist in a sentence

British Dictionary definitions for fascist (1 of 2)

/ (ˈfæʃɪst) sometimes capital /

an adherent or practitioner of fascism
any person regarded as having right-wing authoritarian views
adjective Also: fascistic (fəˈʃɪstɪk)
characteristic of or relating to fascism

Derived forms of fascist

fascistically, adverb

British Dictionary definitions for fascist (2 of 2)

/ (ˈfæʃɪst) /

a supporter or member of the Italian Fascist movement
of or relating to Italian Fascism
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