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

Keep scrolling for more

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 Similarly xenophobic impulses have a long history in our society, dating back most dramatically to the nativist and populist Know Nothing Party that mainly targeted Irish Catholic immigrants in the 1850s. Clarence Page, chicagotribune.com, 20 Aug. 2021 The misery experienced by many Peruvians probably fueled the rise of left-wing populist Pedro Castillo, who was inaugurated president this week. Washington Post, 30 July 2021 Laschet worries about recent populist and autocratic tendencies in central and eastern Europe, but is very clear about his vision of the European Union. Kirsten Grieshaber, ajc, 2 July 2021 The report comes just days before the second round of the country’s closely contested presidential election between the right-wing populist Keiko Fujimori and socialist candidate Pedro Castillo. Siladitya Ray, Forbes, 1 June 2021 An extensive survey for the populist think tank American Compass found a stark class divide in how couples think about child care. Rich Lowry, National Review, 11 May 2021 Right-wing leaders with a populist following and a stronghold in Italy's more economically productive north have pushed aggressively for a swifter loosening of virus-control measures. Colleen Barry, Star Tribune, 16 Apr. 2021 In the first round on February 7th, Mr Arauz, an economist who served under Rafael Correa, a populist leftist who governed Ecuador for a decade until 2017, won 32.7% of the vote. The Economist, 12 Apr. 2021 Yet despite the AfD’s populist, anti-establishment stance, the party has not been able to capitalize on growing criticism of the government’s inability to secure enough vaccines and its patchwork reliance on lockdowns. Melissa Eddy, New York Times, 14 Mar. 2021 Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Far-right populist movements coursed through Europe. Calvin Woodward, Ellen Knickmeyer And David Rising, Anchorage Daily News, 11 Sep. 2021 Far-right populist movements coursed through Europe. chicagotribune.com, 10 Sep. 2021 Instead, the Chinese film industry is taking a more populist and propagandist direction that is less attractive to overseas festivals. Patrick Frater, Variety, 3 Sep. 2021 Disillusion with the Iraq and Afghanistan Wars has also dampened public support in Britain for interventionism and fueled fierce opposition on both the populist right and the socialist left. David A. Cowan, National Review, 20 Aug. 2021 While Duterte's allies chalk up his night-owl tendencies to his personality, experts say his style also serves to further his interests as a performative, populist leader. Arkansas Online, 27 Aug. 2021 While Duterte's allies chalk up his night-owl tendencies to his personality, experts say his style also serves to further his interests as a performative, populist leader. BostonGlobe.com, 26 Aug. 2021 While Duterte’s allies chalk up his night-owl tendencies to his personality, experts say his style also serves to further his interests as a performative, populist leader. Washington Post, 26 Aug. 2021 Marc Angel, a member of the European Parliament and its LGBTI Intergroup, told NBC News that the E.U. must take tougher action, both in the courts and financially, against Hungary's populist government. NBC News, 16 June 2021

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More About populist

Time Traveler for populist

Time Traveler

The first known use of populist was in 1891

See more words from the same year

Dictionary Entries Near populist




See More Nearby Entries 

Statistics for populist

Last Updated

1 Sep 2021

Cite this Entry

“Populist.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/populist. Accessed 22 Sep. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLACheck Mark Icon ChicagoCheck Mark Icon APACheck Mark Icon Merriam-WebsterCheck Mark Icon

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for populist



English Language Learners Definition of populist

: of or relating to a political party that claims to represent ordinary people


Test Your Vocabulary

Difficult Spelling Words Quiz

  • alphabet pasta spelling help
  • Which is the correct spelling?
True or False

Test your knowledge - and maybe learn something along the way.

Universal Daily Crossword

A daily challenge for crossword fanatics.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

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