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

Lippmann feared that the citizenry would abandon the public square and give themselves over to propaganda. Sean Illing, Vox, "Intellectuals have said democracy is failing for a century. They were wrong.," 20 Dec. 2018 Show a propaganda video made by the National Security Council? Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "Trump Is Making Us All Live in His Delusional Reality Show," 15 June 2018 Cuban intelligence is now also calling the shots in Caracas and spreading the same propaganda. Editorial Board, WSJ, "Aid Showdown in Venezuela," 21 Feb. 2019 As previous reports have detailed, the IRA has tied itself to American political movements and encouraged supporters to unwittingly spread divisive propaganda. Adi Robertson, The Verge, "Russian election meddlers started an anti-masturbation hotline, report claims," 17 Dec. 2018 That’s a big deal, as Moscow used the church to spread its propaganda to devout Ukrainians, explained Farkas, the former Pentagon official. Alex Ward, Vox, "Russia just openly attacked Ukraine. That could mean their war will get worse.," 26 Nov. 2018 Yet the left push these unverified and uncorroborated claims throughout the highest levels of our government right into the gullible media, their arm that pushes their propaganda. Fox News, "Reps. Meadows, Jordan call on Rosenstein to testify," 27 Sep. 2018 And along with other social networks, Twitter was a critical tool for Russian influence during the 2016 election, when tens of thousands of accounts were used to spread propaganda and disinformation. BostonGlobe.com, "Battling fake accounts, Twitter to slash millions of followers," 11 July 2018 White supremacist groups are plastering their propaganda on U.S. college campuses at a rapidly increasing rate, according to data released Thursday by a Jewish civil rights group. Michael Kunzelman, chicagotribune.com, "U.S. colleges see sharp rise in white supremacist propaganda: data," 28 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.

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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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Last Updated

12 Mar 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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