fascism

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

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

Keep scrolling for more

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 English words fascism and fascist are borrowings from Italian fascismo and fascista, derivatives of fascio (plural fasci), “bundle, fasces, group.” Fascista was first used in 1914 to refer to members of a fascio, or political group. In 1919, fascista was applied to the black-shirted members of Benito Mussolini’s organization, the Fasci di combattimento (“combat groups”), who seized power in Italy in 1922. Playing on the word fascista, Mussolini’s party adopted the fasces, a bundle of rods with an ax among them, as a symbol of the Italian people united and obedient to the single authority of the state. The English word fascist was first used for members of Mussolini’s fascisti, but it has since been generalized to those of similar beliefs.

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
See More
Recent Examples on the Web Yet fascism and communism also posed a dire threat to something so elemental to society that political thinkers of earlier generations had barely needed to take account of it: the very idea of truth. The Economist, "Open Future Is liberalism really kaput?," 4 Dec. 2019 Described as part moral fable, part sociopolitical comedy and part noirish thriller, the drama turns its cautionary gaze on the rise of fascism and its dangers. David Rooney, The Hollywood Reporter, "Emmy-Winner Luke Kirby to Lead 'Judgment Day' on New York Stage," 16 Oct. 2019 During the Cold War, the powers that defeated fascism brought the world to the brink of a nuclear war that would have made the Second World War seem like a minor episode in comparison. Alex Ross, The New Yorker, "Nietzsche’s Eternal Return," 7 Oct. 2019 Released in 2004, the late Philip Roth’s novel The Plot Against America imagines an alternate history where aviator-hero and xenophobic populist Charles Lindbergh became president in 1940 and turned the United States toward fascism. Derek Lawrence, EW.com, "See Winona Ryder, John Turturro in first look at David Simon's The Plot Against America," 19 Dec. 2019 President Lázaro Cárdenas had opened up Mexico to those fleeing the Spanish civil war and fascism in Europe. The Economist, "Leonora Carrington Searching for Britain’s most important surrealist," 18 Dec. 2019 But there’s more going on, including an occasional touch of fascism conveyed by dancers in military sunglasses, shifting into rigid formations. Washington Post, "Storytelling is the key ingredient in the year’s best dance works," 10 Dec. 2019 As the Stanford University professor Jeremy Bailenson, who will show up in a few paragraphs, put it, film is fascism and V.R. is anarchy. Patricia Marx, The New Yorker, "Taking Virtual Reality for a Test Drive," 2 Dec. 2019 In 1922, fascism came to Italy as Benito Mussolini took control of the government. BostonGlobe.com, "In 1858, Rowland Hussey Macy opened his first New York store at Sixth Avenue and 14th Street in Manhattan.," 28 Oct. 2019

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about fascism

Time Traveler for fascism

Time Traveler

The first known use of fascism was in 1921

See more words from the same year

Statistics for fascism

Last Updated

11 Jan 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fascism.” The Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster Inc., https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism. Accessed 20 January 2020.

Keep scrolling for more

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on fascism

What made you want to look up fascism? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be intimidated or subdued

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

The Eponym Quiz

  • rubens painting
  • Which is the best synonym of bowdlerize?
Spell It

Can you spell these 10 commonly misspelled words?

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!