astroturfing

noun
as·​tro·​turf·​ing | \ˈa-strə-ˌtər-fiŋ, -ˌstrō-\

Definition of astroturfing 

: organized activity that is intended to create a false impression of a widespread, spontaneously arising, grassroots movement in support of or in opposition to something (such as a political policy) but that is in reality initiated and controlled by a concealed group or organization (such as a corporation) Classic astroturfing is the practice of disguising an orchestrated campaign as a spontaneous upwelling of public opinion. … The term itself appears to have been coined in 1985 by then Texas Senator Lloyd Bentsen, who noted that the mountains of letters he received about legislation on insurance originated with insurers.New Scientist, 10 Feb. 2007 The modern form of astroturfing uses the Internet, and corporations, religious groups with a social agenda, and public interest groups can flood an in-box in an hour with e-mails that may come from a single source using many accounts.— Alan Boraas, Anchorage Daily News, 4 Apr. 2009

Love words?

You must — there are over 200,000 words in our free online dictionary, but you are looking for one that’s only in the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary.

Start your free trial today and get unlimited access to America's largest dictionary, with:

  • More than 250,000 words that aren't in our free dictionary
  • Expanded definitions, etymologies, and usage notes
  • Advanced search features
  • Ad free!

First Known Use of astroturfing

1993, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for astroturfing

astroturf (metaphorically opposed to grass roots) + -ing entry 3

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about astroturfing

Share astroturfing

Dictionary Entries near astroturfing

astrose

astrostereogram

Astroturf

astroturfing

astrut

astucious

astucity

Statistics for astroturfing

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for astroturfing

The first known use of astroturfing was in 1993

See more words from the same year

Comments on astroturfing

What made you want to look up astroturfing? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

playful or foolish behavior

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Autumn Words of the Day 2018

  • a-top-down-image-of-road-through-an-autumn-forest
  • Which is a synonym of fugacious?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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