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

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. See More
Recent Examples on the Web Omnipresent propaganda depicts the occupiers as liberators. Marc Santora, BostonGlobe.com, 23 Sep. 2022 Russian propaganda channels highlighted the unit’s large contingent of Ukrainian nationalists and its commander, Andriy Biletsky, who had led groups that espoused neo-Nazi ideas. Isabel Coles, WSJ, 22 Sep. 2022 While the War on Drugs didn’t start propaganda against cannabis and other drugs, the movement ran full steam ahead from the 1970s onward. Chloe Villano, Rolling Stone, 21 Sep. 2022 Young people are less likely to have illusions or swallow the propaganda that state TV feeds out. Mary Ann Gwinn, Los Angeles Times, 21 Sep. 2022 With only Russian state television channels, a Kremlin propaganda tool, available in Kupiansk for the past six months, people were cut off from independent news about what was happening in Ukraine. Kamila Hrabchuk, Washington Post, 17 Sep. 2022 Moreover, if studios are thinking of the ‘biggest xyz’ that looks great on a press release, China is still a useful propaganda tool. Scott Mendelson, Forbes, 8 Aug. 2022 Some experts say that the Islamic State uses images of women in combat primarily as a propaganda tool and deploys female fighters only as a last resort. Salvador Rizzo, Anchorage Daily News, 7 June 2022 Xi's remarks, made in a video call with the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Michelle Bachelet, are likely to add to the controversy surrounding a trip that critics say risks becoming a propaganda tool for Beijing. Nectar Gan And Cnn's Beijing Bureau, CNN, 25 May 2022 See More

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.

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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Time Traveler for propaganda

Time Traveler

The first known use of propaganda was in 1668

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Dictionary Entries Near propaganda

propagand

propaganda

propagandee

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Statistics for propaganda

Last Updated

26 Sep 2022

Cite this Entry

“Propaganda.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propaganda. Accessed 30 Sep. 2022.

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More Definitions for propaganda

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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