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 fascist (audio) also  -​sist \ noun or adjective, often capitalized
fascistic \ fa-​ˈshi-​stik How to pronounce fascistic (audio) also  -​ˈsi-​ \ adjective, often capitalized
fascistically \ fa-​ˈshi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce fascistically (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 year 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 There’s a mention of climate change, a reference to James Baldwin, and a warning about fascism and nationalism. Kyle Smith, National Review, "The Wink and the Fist," 21 Oct. 2020 Unlike the United States, where speech is largely protected by the First Amendment, Italy and many other European countries scarred by fascism and Nazism have stricter laws against preaching racial or ethnic superiority. Emma Bubola, New York Times, "Bill Offering L.G.B.T. Protections in Italy Spurs Rallies on Both Sides," 17 Oct. 2020 The two sides started arguing about fascism and the police. Mallory Moench, SFChronicle.com, "Punches thrown as left-wing protesters show up at conservative rally in S.F.," 17 Oct. 2020 The regime defined itself in the tradition of communists who had resisted fascism, giving rise to a state doctrine of remembrance that effectively exculpated it from wartime atrocities. Katrin Bennhold, New York Times, "Germany’s Far Right Reunified, Too, Making It Much Stronger," 3 Oct. 2020 As the surveyor argues, both Montreal’s Casa d’Italia and Asmara’s old mosque are evidence of the reach of Italian fascism at the time. Emmanuel Iduma, The New York Review of Books, "Italy’s Colonial History in Africa Reframed," 3 Oct. 2020 But in 1986 an unusual monument against fascism was erected in Hamburg. Alan Marcus, The Conversation, "Monuments ‘expire’ – but offensive monuments can become powerful history lessons," 4 Sep. 2020 Stanley also touched on the prominence of QAnon and its role in contributing to a sense of fascism that exudes from the Trump administration. Alexis Benveniste, CNN, "Media shouldn't normalize 'fascist' Trumpism, Yale professor says," 30 Aug. 2020 But the mid-1940s arrival into power of Juan Domingo Perón and his ideology, Peronism –which is usually simply described as populist but is better seen as a variant of fascism — effectively put an end to that. Andrew Stuttaford, National Review, "The Capital Letter: Week of August 24," 28 Aug. 2020

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

25 Oct 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fascism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism. Accessed 27 Oct. 2020.

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More Definitions for fascism

fascism

noun
How to pronounce fascism (audio)

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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Comments on fascism

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