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

Example Sentences

Her ideas have been widely promulgated on the Internet. The law was promulgated in April 1988.
Recent Examples on the Web The Foundation has entered its religious phase, promulgating the Church of Seldon throughout the Outer Reach and inciting the Second Crisis: war with Empire. James Hibberd, The Hollywood Reporter, 11 May 2023 If the Council gives its approval, possibly with some caveats, the government will be entitled to promulgate the law, and will hope this will eventually put an end to protests, which have at times turned violent, and coalesced widespread anger against Macron. Reuters, NBC News, 13 Apr. 2023 Although Shapiro and Peterson do not directly promulgate the type of conspiratorial thinking found in DePape’s writings, research suggests that algorithms on social media can lead users from mainstream conservative channels to more extreme accounts, such as those DePape followed. Los Angeles Times, 14 Nov. 2022 Increasingly, sexologists, politicians, and writers began to promulgate the idea that these behaviors were signifiers of homosexuality, to be surveilled and curtailed. Hugh Ryan, Town & Country, 25 May 2022 The hallmarks of good strategy, as promulgated by Richard Rumelt, are fairly simple: (i) a clear diagnosis of the underlying problem, (ii) a guiding policy, and (iii) a set of coherent actions. Seth Joseph, Forbes, 23 Mar. 2023 Fox wasn’t yet fending off a mammoth defamation lawsuit for promulgating Trump’s election deceits. Charles Mcnultytheater Critic, Los Angeles Times, 3 Mar. 2023 The new Democratic senators also made possible the adoption of the $787 billion stimulus bill in 2009 and the Dodd-Frank Act of 2010, which vastly expanded government control of American finance and gave the president the nearly unfettered ability to promulgate regulation across the... Mike Solon, WSJ, 1 Sep. 2020 Ailes, a key member of the media team that helped put Richard Nixon in the White House in 1968, saw it as an outlet that could be used to promulgate and amplify a conservative viewpoint. David Zurawik, CNN, 2 Mar. 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 1 Jun. 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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