fascism

noun
fas·​cism | \ ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm How to pronounce fascism (audio) also ˈfa-ˌsi- \

Definition of fascism

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control early instances of army fascism and brutality— J. W. Aldridge

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Other Words from fascism

fascist \ ˈfa-​shist How to pronounce fascism (audio) also  -​sist \ noun or adjective, often capitalized
fascistic \ fa-​ˈshi-​stik How to pronounce fascism (audio) also  -​ˈsi-​ \ adjective, often capitalized
fascistically \ fa-​ˈshi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce fascism (audio) also  -​ˈsi-​ \ adverb, often capitalized

The Italian Origin of Fascism

The words fascism and fascist have long been associated with the Fascisti of Benito Mussolini and the fasces, the bundle of rods with an ax among them, which the Fascisti used as a symbol of the Italian people united and obedient to the single authority of the state. However, Mussolini did not introduce the word fascista (plural fascisti) with the 1919 organization of the Fasci di combattimento (“combat groups”), nor did the fasces have any direct connection with the origin of fascista. In Italian, the word fascio (plural fasci) means literally “bundle,” and figuratively “group.” From at least 1872 fascio was used in the names of labor and agrarian unions, and in October 1914 a political coalition was formed called the Fascio rivoluzionario d’ azione internazionalista (“revolutionary group for international action”), which advocated Italian participation in World War I on the side of the Allies. Members of this group were first called fascisti in January 1915. Although Mussolini was closely associated with this interventionist movement, it had no direct link with the post-war Fasci di combattimento, and in 1919 the word fascista was already in political circulation. It is, however, to the Fascisti in their 1919 incarnation—who seized power in Italy three years later—that we owe the current customary meanings of our words fascism and fascist.

Examples of fascism in a Sentence

From the first hours of Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, the propagandists on both sides of the conflict portrayed the struggle in stark, Manichaean language. The totalitarian nature of both regimes made this inevitable. On one side stood Hitler, fascism, the myth of German supremacy; on the other side stood Stalin, communism, and the international proletarian revolution. — Anne Applebaum, New York Review of Books, 25 Oct. 2007 Consider what happened during the crisis of global fascism. At first, even the truth about Hitler was inconvenient. Many in the west hoped the danger would simply go away. — Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006 He collected stories about groups similar to his—Aryans, other Nazis, the KKK. Lately, he'd been flagging many stories from Germany and Eastern Europe, and was quite thrilled with the rise of fascism there. — John Grisham, The Chamber, 1995 the rise of Fascism in Europe before World War II
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Recent Examples on the Web Internationalism is the Raid for the cockroach of fascism. Vinson Cunningham, Los Angeles Times, "The future of L.A. is here. Robin D.G. Kelley’s radical imagination shows us the way," 17 Mar. 2021 Now, under the pretext of COVID, all manner of fascism is deemed acceptable — even entertaining. Armond White, National Review, "Two New Russian Film Imports Challenge Narratives of the Biden-Harris Era," 24 Feb. 2021 Vienna in the 1990s seemed bored with itself, cynically content to profit from the art and ideas of a more vibrant era, one that fascism had snuffed out six decades before. John Wray, Travel + Leisure, "Vienna Is Beloved for Its Museums, Café Culture, and Gorgeous Parks — But It’s Now One of Europe’s Most Exciting Cities for Nightlife," 8 Mar. 2021 Halfway between decency and proto-fascism takes you a long way down the reactionary road. Fintan O’toole, The New York Review of Books, "To Hell with Unity," 2 Mar. 2021 The defeat of Great Power fascism established democracy as the dominant political technology in the capitalist world and relegated totalitarian economic organization to the other side of the Iron Curtain. Rana Dasgupta, Harper's Magazine, "The Silenced Majority," 24 Nov. 2020 The Japanese writer Yukio Mishima eroticized fascism and tried to inspire a coup. Schenker, who was born in Galicia, part of the Austro-Hungarian empire, was an ardent cultural Germanophile and given to dyspeptic diatribes. New York Times, "Obscure Musicology Journal Sparks Battles Over Race and Free Speech," 14 Feb. 2021 Deplatforming white supremacy, chauvinism, and fascism is not antithetical to this battle for free speech, but a continuation. Malkia Devich-cyril, Wired, "Banning White Supremacy Isn’t Censorship, It’s Accountability," 31 Jan. 2021 Not without each of us decrying right-wing fascism and violence, no matter who the target may be. Lauren Rankin, refinery29.com, "How Anti-Abortion Terrorism Fuelled The MAGA Attack On The Capitol," 17 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fascism.' 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 fascism

1921, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fascism

Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces

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Time Traveler for fascism

Time Traveler

The first known use of fascism was in 1921

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Statistics for fascism

Last Updated

24 Mar 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fascism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism. Accessed 10 Apr. 2021.

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More Definitions for fascism

fascism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fascism

: a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government
: very harsh control or authority

fascism

noun, often capitalized
fas·​cism | \ ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm How to pronounce fascism (audio) \

Kids Definition of fascism

: a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted

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