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 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 Yet committed realists continue to promulgate more and more definitions, in the belief that one of them will map perfectly onto some intrinsic and stable feature of nature. Kathryn Schulz, The New Yorker, 14 Aug. 2023 Our progress, as promulgated by its boosters, has been toward a more perfect union. Keeanga-Yamahtta Taylor, The New Yorker, 11 Aug. 2023 But there is another character who looms large in this film: John Money, the late Johns Hopkins sexologist who was once considered the authority on gender, and who promulgated the dubious notion that social conditioning was the determining factor in gender conformance. Michael O'Sullivan, Washington Post, 27 June 2023 The Sisters have come a long way, but never strayed from their mission: to promulgate universal joy and expiate stigmatic guilt. Anita Chabria, Los Angeles Times, 8 June 2023 For purposes of this policy, a controversial issue is a topic on which opposing points of view have been promulgated by responsible opinion. Alex Groth, Journal Sentinel, 13 July 2023 Bell hopes the exhibition will spark conversations, especially around thorny topics, such as the moral panics that new technologies ignite, the role of cellphones in promulgating misinformation and violent imagery, and how the cellphone has changed human culture. Alicia Ault, Smithsonian Magazine, 12 July 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 23 Sep. 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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