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

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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 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
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Recent Examples on the Web

According to The Guardian, the man the teen interrupted is a leader of the neo-fascist CasaPound party, a group that has helped renormalize fascism in a country with an ugly history on the subject. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "An Italian Teen Identified as Simone Went Viral for Counterprotesting Fascists," 8 Apr. 2019 In his 20s and 30s, Johnson was an advocate of fascism and Nazism but later disavowed them. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, "‘Man in the Glass House’ Examines an Architect of the 20th Century," 3 Nov. 2018 More recently, the company also took down 32 pages and accounts last month that reached 290,000 people with ads, events and regular posts on topics such as race, fascism and feminism. Tony Romm, The Seattle Times, "Russia and Iran created 652 Facebook pages, groups and accounts to mislead users around the world, company says," 21 Aug. 2018 Could Trump’s presidency really have the makings of a descent into fascism? Adam Tooze, The New York Review of Books, "Democracy and Its Discontents," 6 June 2019 Ultimately, after fighting in the Spanish Civil War, Elias becomes a leader in the fight against fascism. Lloyd Sachs, chicagotribune.com, "Murder abroad: Crime fiction roundup features thrillers set in France, Italy and Spain," 11 June 2018 What has been in effect in the U.S., in part, and other European countries has socialistic effects, but is in reality fascism. WSJ, "Schumer, Sanders, Socialism and Buybacks," 12 Feb. 2019 For Benjamin, part of the project of fascism is to render politics aesthetic (communism, conversely, renders art political), and the result of the fascist trajectory is that war begins to hold enormous aesthetic value. Constance Grady, Vox, "What it means that we keep talking about America like it’s a TV show," 27 Dec. 2018 For many young ideological intellectuals, this often led to a worldview in which there seemed to be little choice: either fascism or communism, with no middle ground. Helen Fry, WSJ, "‘Enemies Within’ Review: Traitors to Their Class," 13 Dec. 2018

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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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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Comments on fascism

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