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 In the Roman tradition of bread and circuses, sports were expected to placate the troubled population. Ann Killion, San Francisco Chronicle, 11 Mar. 2021 Democrats are betting this round of bread and circuses will win them the 2022 midterms. Karl Rove, WSJ, 10 Mar. 2021 At its gilded core, the Super Bowl is an annual carnival of excess that makes the bread and circuses of Roman antiquity seem quaint in comparison. Kim Kelly, The New Republic, 6 Feb. 2020 Both of you, stop your bickering and give us the bread and circuses of being able to watch pro basketball and hockey, to distract us while the world goes up in flames and in hate. Dp Opinion, The Denver Post, 15 Nov. 2019 Worried about low turnout undermining the legitimacy of the results, the Kremlin resorted to bread and circuses. The Economist, 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.

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First Known Use of bread and circuses

1872, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for bread and circuses

translation of Latin panis et circenses

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Time Traveler for bread and circuses

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The first known use of bread and circuses was in 1872

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Dictionary Entries Near bread and circuses

bread-and-butter plate

bread and circuses


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Cite this Entry

“Bread and circuses.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 27 Jul. 2021.

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