bread and circuses

plural noun

Definition of bread and circuses

: a palliative offered especially to avert potential discontent

Examples of bread and circuses in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web

Worried about low turnout undermining the legitimacy of the results, the Kremlin resorted to bread and circuses. The Economist, "A fourth term for Russia’s perpetual president," 19 Mar. 2018

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

First Known Use of bread and circuses

1894, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bread and circuses

translation of Latin panis et circenses

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The first known use of bread and circuses was in 1894

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something desired as essential

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