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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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 The chaos and political recriminations sparked by cyberattacks are paralleled by the internal discord sown by what US spy agencies say is Russia's disinformation and propaganda warfare during the last two US election campaigns -- on behalf of Trump. Stephen Collinson, CNN, 7 June 2021 But pro-Palestinian civil society groups including 7amleh and Access Now as well as some Facebook employees are concerned that nonviolating content is being marked as terrorist propaganda and hate speech. NBC News, 29 May 2021 The Jewish community bore the brunt of this explosive combination of Arab nationalism, Nazi propaganda and anti-Semitism. Joseph Samuels, WSJ, 28 May 2021 This puts Nexta in a position that flirts with both journalism and propaganda. Dominique Soguel, The Christian Science Monitor, 26 May 2021 The vast majority — 85 % — fell into the categories of incitement to hate, insults and propaganda, including Holocaust denial and glorification of Nazi ideology. Toby Axelrod, sun-sentinel.com, 5 May 2021 But they also are drawn from the ranks of public relations giants like Edelman, which help craft corporate COVID messaging, along with groups like the Network Contagion Research Institute that study the spread of misinformation and propaganda. Jonathan Vanian, Fortune, 28 Apr. 2021 As the government pushes pomp and propaganda ahead of the anniversary, the authorities are simultaneously stepping up efforts to limit dissent. New York Times, 19 Apr. 2021 Over the past 25 years, Fox News has turned both cable news and partisan propaganda into a science. Alex Shephard, The New Republic, 8 Apr. 2021

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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Learn More about propaganda

Time Traveler for propaganda

Time Traveler

The first known use of propaganda was in 1668

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Statistics for propaganda

Last Updated

10 Jun 2021

Cite this Entry

“Propaganda.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propaganda. Accessed 14 Jun. 2021.

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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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