Fascista

noun
Fa·​sci·​sta | \ fä-ˈshē-(ˌ)stä How to pronounce Fascista (audio) \
plural Fascisti\ fä-​ˈshē-​(ˌ)stē How to pronounce Fascisti (audio) \

Definition of Fascista

: a member of an Italian political organization under Mussolini governing Italy 1922–1943 according to the principles of fascism

The Italian Origin of Fascism

The words fascism and fascist have long been associated with the Fascisti of Benito Mussolini and the fasces, the bundle of rods with an ax among them, which the Fascisti used as a symbol of the Italian people united and obedient to the single authority of the state. However, Mussolini did not introduce the word fascista (plural fascisti) with the 1919 organization of the Fasci di combattimento (“combat groups”), nor did the fasces have any direct connection with the origin of fascista. In Italian, the word fascio (plural fasci) means literally “bundle,” and figuratively “group.” From at least 1872 fascio was used in the names of labor and agrarian unions, and in October 1914 a political coalition was formed called the Fascio rivoluzionario d’ azione internazionalista (“revolutionary group for international action”), which advocated Italian participation in World War I on the side of the Allies. Members of this group were first called fascisti in January 1915. Although Mussolini was closely associated with this interventionist movement, it had no direct link with the post-war Fasci di combattimento, and in 1919 the word fascista was already in political circulation. It is, however, to the Fascisti in their 1919 incarnation—who seized power in Italy three years later—that we owe the current customary meanings of our words fascism and fascist.

First Known Use of Fascista

1920, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for Fascista

Italian, from fascio

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Last Updated

9 Nov 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fascista.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Fascista. Accessed 2 Dec. 2020.

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