propaganda

noun
pro·​pa·​gan·​da | \ ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də How to pronounce propaganda (audio) , ˌprō-\

Definition of propaganda

1 capitalized : a congregation of the Roman curia having jurisdiction over missionary territories and related institutions
2 : the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person
3 : ideas, facts, or allegations spread deliberately to further one's cause or to damage an opposing cause also : a public action having such an effect

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Other Words from propaganda

propagandist \ ˌprä-​pə-​ˈgan-​dist How to pronounce propagandist (audio) , ˌprō-​ \ noun or adjective
propagandistic \ ˌprä-​pə-​ˌgan-​ˈdi-​stik How to pronounce propagandistic (audio) , ˌprō-​ \ adjective
propagandistically \ ˌprä-​pə-​ˌgan-​ˈdi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce propagandistically (audio) , ˌprō-​ \ adverb

The History of Propaganda

Propaganda is today most often used in reference to political statements, but the word comes to our language through its use in a religious context. The Congregatio de propaganda fide (“Congregation for propagating the faith”) was an organization established in 1622 by Pope Gregory XV as a means of furthering Catholic missionary activity. The word propaganda is from the ablative singular feminine of propogandus, which is the gerundive of the Latin propagare, meaning “to propagate.” The first use of the word propaganda (without the rest of the Latin title) in English was in reference to this Catholic organization. It was not until the beginning of the 19th century that it began to be used as a term denoting ideas or information that are of questionable accuracy as a means of advancing a cause.

Examples of propaganda in a Sentence

She didn't buy into the propaganda of her day that women had to be soft and submissive. — Maria Shriver, Time, 26 Oct. 2009 They see all clear thinking, all sense of reality, and all fineness of living, threatened on every side by propaganda, by advertisement, by film and television. — C. S. Lewis, An Experiment in Criticism, (1961) 2009 We've so bought into the mass delusion, the nutty propaganda, that now the ideal American family is one that's on steroids … — Anna Quindlen, Newsweek, 27 Apr. 2009 … just propaganda for a mode of life no one could live without access to the very impulse-suppressing, nostalgia-provoking drugs they don't want you to have … — Richard Ford, Independence Day, 1995 He was accused of spreading propaganda. The report was nothing but lies and propaganda.
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Recent Examples on the Web

Instead of seeking compromise, China dug in again, threatening to punish American companies and launching a wave of propaganda accusing the United States of engaging in economic bullying. Chris Buckley, New York Times, "Hong Kong Protests Raise Stakes for Xi’s Hard-Line Agenda," 13 June 2019 Chernobyl shows the destruction wrought when politicians dissolve the boundary between fact (represented by the scientists’ claims) and fiction (represented by Soviet propaganda). Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "Exposé Entertainment Is the Surprise Hit of the Summer," 13 June 2019 Anglin's site takes its name from Der Stürmer, a newspaper that published Nazi propaganda. NBC News, "Neo-Nazi website hit with $4.1 million defamation penalty," 12 June 2019 Linda Taylor had been an unwitting salvo in what resembles a propaganda war against the poor. Christopher Borrelli, chicagotribune.com, "Reagan used her, the country hated her. Decades later, the Welfare Queen of Chicago refuses to go away," 7 June 2019 Fake news, or propaganda as it was then known, filled newspapers and radio programs with false reports that Britain was on the verge of defeat. Sonia Purnell, Twin Cities, "Sonia Purnell: What D-Day teaches us about the difficulty – and importance – of resistance," 6 June 2019 One needn’t be an expert in China history, language, or politics to assume that Xi understands both the history and the present-day propaganda potential of the Long March very well. Therese Shaheen, National Review, "China’s ‘New Long March’," 5 June 2019 Ironically, the Iran Disinformation Project was funded by the State Department’s Global Engagement Center, which was begun to combat online extremism and propaganda. Jason Rezaian, The Denver Post, "Guest Commentary: The State Department has been funding trolls. I’m one of their targets.," 4 June 2019 That is why movies like this, and The Silent Scream, a 1985 propaganda film that claimed to show a 12-week fetus struggling for its life before being aborted, are effective. Jennifer Wright, Harper's BAZAAR, "Why the Abortion Movie Unplanned Is Factually Incorrect," 16 Apr. 2019

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

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First Known Use of propaganda

1668, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for propaganda

New Latin, from Congregatio de propaganda fide Congregation for propagating the faith, organization established by Pope Gregory XV †1623

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Statistics for propaganda

Last Updated

18 Jun 2019

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Time Traveler for propaganda

The first known use of propaganda was in 1668

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More Definitions for propaganda

propaganda

noun

English Language Learners Definition of propaganda

usually disapproving : ideas or statements that are often false or exaggerated and that are spread in order to help a cause, a political leader, a government, etc.

propaganda

noun
pro·​pa·​gan·​da | \ ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də How to pronounce propaganda (audio) \

Kids Definition of propaganda

: an organized spreading of often false ideas or the ideas spread in such a way

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