pam·​phle·​teer | \ ˌpam(p)-flə-ˈtir How to pronounce pamphleteer (audio) \

Definition of pamphleteer

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: a writer of pamphlets attacking something or urging a cause


pamphleteered; pamphleteering; pamphleteers

Definition of pamphleteer (Entry 2 of 2)

intransitive verb

1 : to write and publish pamphlets
2 : to engage in partisan arguments indirectly in writings

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Did You Know?


Pamphlets, unbound printed publications with no covers or with paper covers, are published about all kinds of subjects, but our word pamphlet traces back to one particular document. It derives from the title of a short Latin love poem of the 12th century: Pamphilus, seu De Amore, which can be translated as "Pamphilus, or On Love." The name Pamphilus referred to a Greek god whose name means "loved by all." Following from this, the original pamphlets were short handwritten poems, tracts, or treatises, often consisting of several pages bound together. "Pamphleteer," which can be both a noun and a verb, combines "pamphlet" with the "-eer" suffix found in such words as "engineer" and "puppeteer."

Examples of pamphleteer in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

The dissent hinges on a case from the 1990s called Turner Broadcasting v. FCC, which established that cable companies were protected by the First Amendment, just as newspaper publishers and pamphleteers were. Issie Lapowsky, WIRED, "Kavanaugh on the Supreme Court Could Spell Trouble for Tech," 10 July 2018 And if the internet imploded entirely, and the major newspapers folded and local news outlets disappeared (ugh...) too, the partisan pamphleteers would rise again in their wake. Gregory Krieg, CNN, "Don't want to get rolled on Facebook? Know your own politics.," 10 Apr. 2018 Congress wanted to protect the penny press and pamphleteers. Norman Pearlstine, Time, "In Praise of Leaks," 11 Jan. 2018 Frum has the pamphleteer’s flair for the scathing epithet, which can be energizing or enervating, depending on your tolerance for hyperbole. Jennifer Szalai, New York Times, "Will Democracy Survive President Trump? Two New Books Aren’t So Sure," 10 Jan. 2018 Rhetorically, Trump’s Youngstown speech recalls the openly racist language found in the early 20th century among white reporters, pamphleteers, and politicians who expressed the prejudices of the era. Jamelle Bouie, Slate Magazine, "Make America Afraid Again," 27 July 2017 By then, pamphleteers needed an exceptionally strong voice to be heard above the din—something even harder to achieve once newspapers and periodicals joined the battle for readers as the century matured. Amanda Foreman, WSJ, "The Power of Pamphlets: A Brief History," 19 Oct. 2017 Born in on Aug. 25, 1796, Lick was the son of a demanding carpenter and the grandson of a Revolutionary War veteran, William Lük (the family spelling then), who survived Valley Forge and imbued young Lick with a love of the pamphleteer Thomas Paine. Scott Herhold, The Mercury News, "James Lick: An eccentric’s legacy," 12 June 2017

Recent Examples on the Web: Verb

Bernard Bailyn, the great historian of the pre-revolution politics of the U.S. colonies, showed through a deep reading of colonial pamphleteering that the early Americans were ardently resentful of distant, central authority. Daniel Henninger, WSJ, "Trump Teaches Western Civ," 12 July 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'pamphleteer.' 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 pamphleteer


1614, in the meaning defined above


1698, in the meaning defined at sense 1

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The first known use of pamphleteer was in 1614

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English Language Learners Definition of pamphleteer

: a person who writes pamphlets usually to support a cause or to criticize someone or something

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something valued as if it were money

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