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

An Iranian officer then sat down in front of Nartker for one last propaganda coup. Megan Rose, ProPublica, "Trump Keeps Talking About the Last Military Standoff With Iran — Here’s What Really Happened," 24 June 2019 It was forced to halt work on a highway around the city, which now stops abruptly at hoardings plastered in yellowing propaganda posters. The Economist, "As growth slows, the spectre of local-government debt looms once more," 22 June 2019 The themes of censorship, fake news, propaganda, and the revolution bubbling just below the surface in the face of such suppression are more timely than ever. refinery29.com, "A Black Woman Quietly Saves The Day In Fahrenheit 451, Per Usual," 20 May 2018 And — to their credit — those propaganda arms provide exhaustive detail to supporters around the country of what happens in closed courtrooms. Leah Sottile, Longreads, "Bundyville Chapter One: A War in the Desert," 15 May 2018 State media turned the company's loss into a propaganda victory. Jessica Meyers, latimes.com, "On high-stakes trip to China, U.S. officials confront tech along with trade," 1 May 2018 While the spartan locale will lack the grandeur of the previous two summits, Moon appears to have secured an important propaganda victory of his own. Joshua Berlinger, Paula Hancocks And Yoonjung Seo, CNN, "Dealing with North Korea: Three lessons from previous summits," 25 Apr. 2018 After all, McCain had denied the North Vietnamese a propaganda victory by turning down an early release, offered because his father was an admiral. azcentral, "John McCain's 2000 presidential run saw challenges, 'ugly' politics," 2 Apr. 2018 Today, Turkey is doing the very same thing, trying to radicalize a generation of Africans through a combination of aid, anti-Western propaganda, religious indoctrination, and military training. Michael Rubin, National Review, "Turkey’s Africa Strategy Threatens to Breed Islamist Extremism," 26 June 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

16 Jul 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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