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 The problem isn’t the obvious forms of fascism — that people are going to start burning books. Kathryn Shattuck, New York Times, "Bradley Whitford Finds Inspiration in the Theater (and Dog Park)," 20 Apr. 2021 These and other actions have invoked death threats and anti-Semitic rhetoric against Segre in Italy, the birthplace of fascism where Lega Nord, which is often described as far right, became part of the government for the first time in 2018. Cnaan Liphshiz, sun-sentinel.com, "Italian Holocaust survivor a hero to many, target to others," 7 Apr. 2021 These words were published more than 80 years ago, during the rise of fascism in a Europe at the cusp of the Second World War. Washington Post, "Taking to the skies in Antoine de Saint-Exupéry’s ‘Wind, Sand and Stars’," 31 Mar. 2021 As the show continues and the dates change to the early 1940s, the growing fear of fascism and World War II drifts into the frame. Alicia Eler, Star Tribune, "1930s era printmaking exhibition at the Weisman Art Museum feels eerily contemporary," 22 Apr. 2021 Are the Simpsons colored yellow because the show is cowardly, its one-time edginess just a relic from before the days of PC fascism? Armond White, National Review, "The Simpsons Tries to Cancel Morrissey," 21 Apr. 2021 The recurring theme here is that what’s left of the Greatest Generation, the men and women who saved the world from fascism, are old, vulnerable, and dying off by the day. BostonGlobe.com, "Saying farewell to the Greatest Generation," 15 Apr. 2021 The characterizations are vague enough for the movie to be interpreted as an allegory, possibly about toxic masculinity or fascism or, given how beautiful and fit everyone is, body shaming. Chris Hewitt, Star Tribune, "Intergalactic drama 'Voyagers' squeezes the joy out of space travel," 8 Apr. 2021 Sorkin paints Johnson as a mirthful fraud who dabbled in fascism in the 1930s, pilfered all his ideas from others, and ruled the profession with a backroom clique of pals and supplicants. Hugo Lindgren, Curbed, "Michael Sorkin Taught Me How to Look at New York," 22 Mar. 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

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The first known use of fascism was in 1921

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Statistics for fascism

Last Updated

11 May 2021

Cite this Entry

“Fascism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism. Accessed 18 May. 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

Comments on fascism

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