Potemkin village


Po·​tem·​kin village pə-ˈtem(p)-kən- How to pronounce Potemkin village (audio)
: an impressive facade or show designed to hide an undesirable fact or condition

Examples of Potemkin village in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Most of San Francisco will remain filthy, lawless and plagued with homeless encampments and drugs, and the Potemkin village will vanish after the summit. WSJ, 17 Nov. 2023 But Horizons Worlds, which as of October reportedly had less than two hundred thousand users, is so far more like a virtual Potemkin village constructed to keep the boss happy. Kyle Chayka, The New Yorker, 8 Dec. 2022 The $60 million headquarters, for one, was barely a Potemkin village. Leo Schwartz, Fortune, 22 Nov. 2022 These guys taking the field now are placeholders, the Potemkin village of playoff teams. Globe Staff, BostonGlobe.com, 14 July 2022 The McNamaras were a Potemkin village of family bliss. Washington Post, 6 May 2022 Inside the Potemkin village of China’s propaganda, the Winter Olympics have unfolded as an unalloyed success, a celebration of sports and political harmony that has obscured — critics say whitewashed — the country’s flaws and rights abuses. Steven Lee Myers, ProPublica, 18 Feb. 2022 The Nazis, Hart-Davis explains, created a big Potemkin village. Jay Nordlinger, National Review, 4 Feb. 2022 Biden is a Potemkin village cipher fronting for a party that won’t stand up to the socialist-woke madness destroying what was once the freest and most prosperous country in world history. Matt Labash, The New Republic, 5 Apr. 2021 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'Potemkin village.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Grigori Potëmkin, who supposedly built impressive fake villages along a route Catherine the Great was to travel

First Known Use

1904, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of Potemkin village was in 1904

Dictionary Entries Near Potemkin village

Cite this Entry

“Potemkin village.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Potemkin%20village. Accessed 23 Feb. 2024.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!