propaganda

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

Keep scrolling for more

Other words from propaganda

propagandist \ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-dist, ˌprō- \ noun or adjective
propagandistic \ˌprä-pə-ˌgan-ˈdi-stik, ˌprō- \ adjective
propagandistically \ˌprä-pə-ˌgan-ˈdi-sti-k(ə-)lē, 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.
See More

Recent Examples on the Web

The machines churned out religious propaganda, designed to infuriate, which had the effect of eliciting an endless series of rebuttals. Franklin Foer, The Atlantic, "The Death of the Public Square," 6 July 2018 Adam Davidson, a New Yorker staff writer, compared the tweet to World War II Nazi propaganda, which demonized Jews and served as a tool in the Hitler regime's calls for mass deportations and eventual genocide. Angela Forburger, azcentral, "Huckabee criticized for 'bigotry' over tweet aimed at Dems showing Latino MS-13 gang members," 23 June 2018 In the early years of the war, women were assigned roles in recruitment, propaganda, medical care, and fundraising. Longreads, "A Chance to Rewrite History: The Women Fighters of the Tamil Tigers," 22 May 2018 Everything now is more oriented to opinion and propaganda, and the technology that's available is allowing us to create a dangerous non-reality. Anne Nickoloff, cleveland.com, "West Geauga high school celebrates 2018 prom at Landerhaven (photos)," 12 May 2018 The walls are filled with propaganda posters, bold in both design — primary colors, strong diagonals — and message — lots of declarative phrases ending in exclamation points, for example. Charles Desmarais, San Francisco Chronicle, "Dressed to kill: War propaganda kimonos on view at the de Young," 11 May 2018 Pro-life is a propaganda term that isn't real, like healthy ice cream. Fox News, "Meadows, Dershowitz react after Lisa Page defies subpoena," 12 July 2018 Changes in media, the rise of a propaganda operation, best invited by Fox News, the radicalization of the right wing, and I ... we ... the battle against the birther conspiracy and fake news. Recode Staff, Recode, "Full transcript: Pod Save America’s Dan Pfeiffer on Recode Media," 2 July 2018 To build public support for their anti-Semitic policies, the Nazi government constructed an elaborate propaganda machine. Sarah Jones, The New Republic, "Why Tyrants Dehumanize the Powerless," 20 June 2018

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.

See More

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

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about propaganda

Share propaganda

Statistics for propaganda

Last Updated

24 Sep 2018

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for propaganda

The first known use of propaganda was in 1668

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for propaganda

propaganda

noun

English Language Learners Definition of propaganda

: 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 \

Kids Definition of propaganda

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

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on propaganda

What made you want to look up propaganda? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).

WORD OF THE DAY

to deposit or conceal in a hiding place

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Name that Food Quiz

How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
Citation

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!