brain·​wash·​ing | \ ˈbrān-ˌwȯ-shiŋ How to pronounce brainwashing (audio) , -ˌwä-\

Definition of brainwashing

1 : a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas
2 : persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship

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Other Words from brainwashing

brainwash \ ˈbrān-​ˌwȯsh How to pronounce brainwash (audio) , -​ˌwäsh \ transitive verb
brainwash noun
brainwasher noun

Examples of brainwashing in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

All countries have cults, and being well schooled is no protection against brainwashing. The Economist, "On the hanging of Shoko Asahara, Japan’s nerve-gas guru," 12 July 2018 The wives expect completely unnatural emotional reactions from the handmaids, and even Aunt Lydia’s brutal brainwashing isn’t enough to put the handmaids’ brains in line with the wives’ expectations. Rena Gross, Billboard, "14 Significant Moments From 'The Handmaid's Tale' Season 2, Episode 10 'The Last Ceremony'," 20 June 2018 Their brainwashing process, according to students of the matter, severs individuals’ connections to outside supports like family and friends. Win Mccormack, The New Republic, "A Mind’s Eye View of 1984," 12 Apr. 2018 Culber also mentions that there are new ways to do brainwashing in which one identity is overlaid on top of another identity. Annalee Newitz, Ars Technica, "Star Trek: Discovery is back and things are seriously #$%!&!," 9 Jan. 2018 In The Force Awakens, Finn is a First Order stormtrooper who breaks free of his brainwashing and gets swept up in the Resistance’s efforts almost by accident. David Sims, The Atlantic, "The Last Jedi's Biggest Storytelling Innovation," 18 Dec. 2017 The search resulted not in a miraculous new weapon but a program of simulated brainwashing designed as a prophylactic against enemy mistreatment. Lorraine Boissoneault, Smithsonian, "The True Story of Brainwashing and How It Shaped America," 22 May 2017 My stories are about smashing systematic oppression, owning our truths, being accountable to the people and places that support us, and taking back a connection to your body that may have been lost through trauma or societal brainwashing. Breena Kerr, New York Times, "Tarot Is Trending, and Dior Predicted This Months Ago," 25 Oct. 2017 There is little counseling on offer for repatriated Yazidi boys to help treat their trauma or counter the brainwashing they were subjected to. Nima Elbagir, Ghazi Balkiz And Tamara Qiblawi, CNN, "ISIS' power is waning, but its child slave trade is still booming," 18 Oct. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brainwashing.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of brainwashing

1950, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for brainwashing

translation of Chinese (Beijing) xǐnǎo

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Statistics for brainwashing

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Time Traveler for brainwashing

The first known use of brainwashing was in 1950

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More Definitions for brainwashing


brain·​wash·​ing | \ ˈbrān-ˌwȯsh-iŋ, -ˌwäsh- How to pronounce brainwashing (audio) \

Medical Definition of brainwashing

: a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas

Other Words from brainwashing

brainwash transitive verb
brainwash noun
brainwasher noun

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More from Merriam-Webster on brainwashing

Nglish: Translation of brainwashing for Spanish Speakers

Britannica English: Translation of brainwashing for Arabic Speakers Encyclopedia article about brainwashing

Comments on brainwashing

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


to form ideas or theories about something

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