noun pro·pa·gan·da \ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də, ˌprō-\

Definition of propaganda

  1. 1 capitalized :  a congregation of the Roman curia having jurisdiction over missionary territories and related institutions

  2. 2 :  the spreading of ideas, information, or rumor for the purpose of helping or injuring an institution, a cause, or a person

  3. 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


play \-dist\ noun or adjective


play \-ˌgan-ˈdis-tik\ adjective


play \-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of propaganda in a sentence

  1. She didn't buy into the propaganda of her day that women had to be soft and submissive. —Maria Shriver, Time, 26 Oct. 2009

  2. 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

  3. … 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

  4. 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

  5. He was accused of spreading propaganda.

  6. The report was nothing but lies and propaganda.

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.

Origin and Etymology of propaganda

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

First Known Use: 1668

PROPAGANDA Defined for English Language Learners


noun pro·pa·gan·da \ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də, ˌprō-\

Definition of propaganda for English Language Learners

  • : 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 Defined for Kids


noun pro·pa·gan·da \ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də\

Definition of propaganda for Students

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

Seen and Heard

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feeling or affected by lethargy

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