pop·​u·​list | \ ˈpä-pyə-list How to pronounce populist (audio) \

Definition of populist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : a member of a political party claiming to represent the common people especially, often capitalized : a member of a U.S. political party formed in 1891 primarily to represent agrarian interests and to advocate the free coinage of silver and government control of monopolies
2 : a believer in the rights, wisdom, or virtues of the common people



Definition of populist (Entry 2 of 2)

1 often capitalized : of, relating to, or characterized by populism

Other Words from populist


populism \ ˈpä-​pyə-​ˌli-​zəm How to pronounce populist (audio) \ noun
populistic \ ˌpä-​pyə-​ˈli-​stik How to pronounce populist (audio) \ adjective

Examples of populist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The goal of the populist isn’t necessarily to win elections; her ambition may be more about re-laundering her celebrity. Antonia Hitchens, The New Yorker, 16 Aug. 2022 Overall, Vance has run as a Republican populist, sort of a political mirror image of Sen. Sherrod Brown, the Democratic senator who’s represented Ohio since 2006. Andrew J. Tobias, cleveland, 4 Sep. 2022 While often described as a populist, the Mexican leader has pursued cautious fiscal policies and a stable peso, and supported the renovation of the North American Free Trade Agreement. Mary Beth Sheridan, Washington Post, 12 July 2022 Last year, his daughter ran for the presidency as a right-wing populist, losing by less than 50,000 votes. New York Times, 18 June 2022 Sadr, a populist who has opposed both U.S. and Iranian influence in Iraq, has called for early elections, as well as the barring of political figures who served after the U.S. invasion from working in government. Kareem Fahim, Washington Post, 29 Aug. 2022 Outagamie County executive Tom Nelson, a populist with an energetic and dedicated following, and State Treasurer Sarah Godlewski, who felt a fundraising surge after the Dobbs ruling. Daniel Strauss, The New Republic, 20 July 2022 Draghi supports aid to Ukraine, sanctions on Russia, and increasing Italy’s defense budget, while the former Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte, a populist who leads the Five Star Movement and has previously befriended Putin, has opposed all three. Robin Wright, The New Yorker, 1 July 2022 The winner will succeed President Rodrigo Duterte, a populist who steered the U.S. ally closer to China and oversaw a brutal war on drugs that left thousands dead. Feliz Solomon, WSJ, 9 May 2022 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Johnson resigned in July after senior members of his government turned against him amid a series of scandals connected to breaking his own coronavirus lockdown rules and waning appetite for his brand of populist politics. Kim Hjelmgaard, USA TODAY, 5 Sep. 2022 The populist movement has been on the march ever since the rise of the Tea Party back in 2009. Fox News Staff, Fox News, 18 Aug. 2022 How could someone as blatantly wrong for the part of a populist leader as Trump—a privileged New York real-estate tycoon who has failed in so many enterprises—ever become one? Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 12 Sep. 2022 With no minimum-vote threshold required for the referendum’s approval, and many boycotting, it was widely believed the authoritarian constitution drawn up by populist President Kais Saied passed. Taylor Luck, The Christian Science Monitor, 25 July 2022 The filmography of Cronenberg has been one that has brought unadulterated respect from cinephiles, while never having the populist appeal to breakout into huge commercial translations or awards attention. Clayton Davis, Variety, 5 June 2022 The Five Star Movement — a populist party that enjoyed widespread success before souring its support from voters with policy shifts — refused to take part in the vote. Ben Evansky, Fox News, 15 July 2022 Which brings the story back to the Senate race and the populist rhetoric that will be featured. Dan Balz, Anchorage Daily News, 7 May 2022 Instead, the center-right Forza Italia and League parties and the populist 5-Star Movement boycotted a confidence vote in the Senate, a clear sign they were done with Mr. Draghi. Nicole Winfield, The Christian Science Monitor, 21 July 2022 See More

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'populist.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

First Known Use of populist


1891, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1892, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for populist


Latin populus the people

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The first known use of populist was in 1891

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Last Updated

25 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Populist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/populist. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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