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 The weekend that the idea that COVID-19 was worse than climate change, or fascism was worse than climate change, disappeared. Elizabeth Weil, ProPublica, "The Climate Crisis Is Happening Right Now. Just Look at California’s Weekend.," 9 Sep. 2020 In order to haul America down the slippery slope toward either fascism or communism, a president would have to mow down a whole lot of institutional speed bumps. Rachel Marsden, Star Tribune, "Neither fascism nor communism is coming to America," 1 Sep. 2020 Unlike many commentators at the time who saw the hardhat riots as an expression of quasi-fascism, Kuhn gives the hardhats their due. Vincent J. Cannato, National Review, "When the Silent Majority Rioted in New York City," 3 Sep. 2020 As fascism, separatism, and antisemitism seep into our common spaces like nerve gas, as populations gird for battle and retrench into familiar camps, new barracks are going up all around us. Elizabeth Svoboda, Longreads, "In Search of Etty Hillesum," 30 Apr. 2020 But these are not particularly hopeful times: Coronavirus, economic collapse, police brutality, the rise of fascism. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, "Joe Biden Has Found His Big Idea," 20 Aug. 2020 The story will be set during the rise of fascism in Mussolini’s Italy. Susan Haas, USA TODAY, "Netflix's 'Pinocchio' animated musical cast will include Ewan McGregor, Cate Blanchett," 20 Aug. 2020 The film, which will be written, directed and produced by del Toro, is said to be a stop-motion animated musical and set during the rise of fascism in Italy. Alexia Fernandez, PEOPLE.com, "Cate Blanchett and Tilda Swinton Join Ewan McGregor in Guillermo del Toro's Pinocchio," 19 Aug. 2020 My parents saw and feared the rise of fascism in Iraq. USA Today, "Lead was poisoning the water in Flint, Mich. Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha put her reputation on the line to prove it.," 11 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

19 Sep 2020

Cite this Entry

“Fascism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism. Accessed 26 Sep. 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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