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 brainwashing (audio) , -​ˌwäsh \ transitive verb
brainwash noun
brainwasher noun

Examples of brainwashing in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Shuri, the sister of the Black Panther/King T’Challa of Wakanda, helped Bucky overcome his brainwashing. Felecia Wellington Radel, USA TODAY, "Marvel's 'The Falcon and the Winter Soldier': You watched the first episode, here's what to know," 20 Mar. 2021 This is Granny Goodness, another servant of Darkseid who trains elite soldiers for her lord using a combination of sadism, torture, and brainwashing. James Grebey, Vulture, "Every Single Easter Egg in Zack Snyder’s Justice League," 18 Mar. 2021 In some cases, deprogrammers would kidnap a group member, detain them for hours or days, and use arguments and videos to try to undo the brainwashing. Michael Schulson/undark, Popular Science, "Can you ‘deprogram’ people who join cults?," 4 Mar. 2021 Reyes said lawyers who wish to make a case for brainwashing or political radicalization would have to demonstrate that their clients have a strong enough mental disability to prevent them from knowing right from wrong. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, "How Trump could factor into legal defenses of North Texans accused of threats and storming Capitol," 31 Jan. 2021 But these practices strike me as forms of self-brainwashing. John Horgan, Scientific American, "How Do I Know I'm Not the Only Conscious Being in the Universe?," 11 Sep. 2020 In Demi’s issue, a glossy ad for Gucci printed in the pages before the magazine masthead is jammed with a subtle, studied brainwashing. Cintra Wilson, The New York Review of Books, "Waste Not, Shop Not," 11 Feb. 2020 Documents from state authorities leaked earlier this year revealed the camps were designed for ideological transformation, political brainwashing and erasing culture. Linda Givetash, NBC News, "Soccer star Mesut Özil under fire for criticizing China's Muslim detention camps," 15 Dec. 2019 This is the story of what happens to kids in war, what happens to the mind under a kind of brainwashing, especially a susceptible teenage mind. Mark Olsenstaff Writer, Los Angeles Times, "Indie Focus: ‘Hustlers’ takes the stage," 13 Sep. 2019

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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Time Traveler for brainwashing

Time Traveler

The first known use of brainwashing was in 1950

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Statistics for brainwashing

Last Updated

25 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Brainwashing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 12 May. 2021.

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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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