noun pro·pa·gan·da \ ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də , ˌprō- \
|Updated on: 13 Aug 2018

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


play \ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-dist, ˌprō-\ noun or adjective


play \ˌprä-pə-ˌgan-ˈdi-stik, ˌprō-\ adjective


play \ˌprä-pə-ˌgan-ˈdi-sti-k(ə-)lē, ˌprō-\ 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 ShriverTime26 Oct. 2009
  2. 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. LewisAn Experiment in Criticism(1961) 2009
  3. We've so bought into the mass delusion, the nutty propaganda, that now the ideal American family is one that's on steroids … —Anna QuindlenNewsweek27 Apr. 2009
  4. … 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 FordIndependence Day1995
  5. He was accused of spreading propaganda.

  6. The report was nothing but lies and propaganda.

Recent Examples of propaganda from the Web

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.

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

PROPAGANDA Defined for English Language Learners


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

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

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