pro·​mul·​gate ˈprä-məl-ˌgāt How to pronounce promulgate (audio)
ˈprō-(ˌ)məl- How to pronounce promulgate (audio)
promulgated; promulgating

transitive verb

: to make (an idea, belief, etc.) known to many people by open declaration : proclaim
… the huge meeting served primarily as the occasion on which to promulgate the official doctrine …Roger Shattuck
From the beginning our objective has been to develop and promulgate new models for the calculus-based introductory course.John S. Rigden et al.
: to make known or public the terms of (a proposed law)
The law was promulgated in February 1993.
: to put (a law or rule) into action or force
… more than 200 colleges and universities have promulgated behavioral codes that punish various forms of harassment …Ken Myers
ˌprä-məl-ˈgā-shən How to pronounce promulgate (audio)
ˈprä-məl-ˌgā-tər How to pronounce promulgate (audio)

Did you know?

The origin of promulgate is a bit murky, or perhaps we should say "milky." It comes from Latin promulgatus, which in turn derives from pro-, meaning "forward," and -mulgare, a form that is probably related to the verb mulgēre, meaning "to milk" or "to extract." Mulgēre is an ancestor of the English word emulsion ("mixture of mutually insoluble liquids"), and it is also related to the Old English word that became milk itself. Like its synonyms declare, announce, and proclaim, promulgate means "to make known publicly." It particularly implies the proclaiming of a dogma, doctrine, or law.

Choose the Right Synonym for promulgate

declare, announce, proclaim, promulgate mean to make known publicly.

declare implies explicitness and usually formality in making known.

the referee declared the contest a draw

announce implies the declaration of something for the first time.

announced their engagement at a party

proclaim implies declaring clearly, forcefully, and authoritatively.

the president proclaimed a national day of mourning

promulgate implies the proclaiming of a dogma, doctrine, or law.

promulgated an edict of religious toleration

Examples of promulgate in a Sentence

Her ideas have been widely promulgated on the Internet. The law was promulgated in April 1988.
Recent Examples on the Web In light of the risks, the American Society for Reproductive Medicine, a professional organization that promulgates clinical and ethical guidelines for assisted reproduction, urges that measures be taken during in vitro fertilization to avoid pregnancies with two or more fetuses. Kwame Anthony Appiah, New York Times, 28 Oct. 2023 Pita, the leader of Move Forward, should have been appointed prime minister based on the vote, but he was stymied by a temporary provision to the constitution promulgated in 2017. Tamara Loos, Foreign Affairs, 26 Sep. 2023 Northam hoped to use the law to promulgate rules that would protect trans students. Karina Elwood, Washington Post, 26 Sep. 2023 That idea was kind of promulgated by Christian writers like Saint Augustine. Ariel Shapiro, The Verge, 3 Oct. 2023 Under Chinese leader Xi Jinping, the government has taken a further interest in promulgating a common tongue. Gina Anne Tam, Foreign Affairs, 19 Sep. 2023 The central point of contention between the two sides was whether the White House would fully embrace the working definition of antisemitism that the International Holocaust Remembrance Alliance, or IHRA, promulgated back in 2005 and adopted in 2016. Eric Alterman, The New Republic, 21 Aug. 2023 During their twelve years in power the Nazis promulgated about two thousand statutes, ordinances, and decrees defining legal rights through family history. Fintan O’Toole, The New York Review of Books, 20 July 2023 But the concept had already been taken upin books and podcasts—and by politicians—to promulgate the idea that peer pressure and social media are making kids transgender or that being transgender is a form of mental illness. Timmy Broderick, Scientific American, 24 Aug. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'promulgate.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History


Latin promulgatus, past participle of promulgare, from pro- forward + -mulgare (probably akin to mulgēre to milk, extract) — more at emulsion

First Known Use

1530, in the meaning defined at sense 1

Time Traveler
The first known use of promulgate was in 1530


Dictionary Entries Near promulgate

Cite this Entry

“Promulgate.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Dec. 2023.

Kids Definition


pro·​mul·​gate ˈpräm-əl-ˌgāt How to pronounce promulgate (audio) prō-ˈməl- How to pronounce promulgate (audio)
promulgated; promulgating
: to make known or make public
promulgate a new law
ˌpräm-əl-ˈgā-shən How to pronounce promulgate (audio)

Legal Definition


transitive verb
prom·​ul·​gate ˈprä-məl-ˌgāt, prō-ˈməl- How to pronounce promulgate (audio)
promulgated; promulgating
: to make known or public
: to put (as a regulation) into effect

More from Merriam-Webster on promulgate

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