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

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 Jurors were shown one propaganda video found on Schimenti’s computer showing terrorists clad in all black standing behind six captured Kurdish fighters whispering prayers while on their knees. Jason Meisner, chicagotribune.com, "Federal jury convicts two suburban friends of aiding ISIS," 20 June 2019 In addition to state propaganda, dramas portraying World War II were popular, like the espionage thriller Seventeen Moments of Spring. David Grossman, Popular Mechanics, "The Soviets Used Magnifying Glasses to Watch TV," 19 June 2019 In August 2017, the boy appeared in an ISIS propaganda video, according to court records. Becky Jacobs, Post-Tribune, "Sister of woman accused of supporting ISIS shares her family's story: 'I've always been there for her'," 7 June 2019 In addition, the US had a bioweapons program from 1943 to 1969 that, among other things, made propaganda videos bragging about testing biological weapons on human subjects. R. Daniel Bressler, Vox, "“Designer bugs”: how the next pandemic might come from a lab," 6 Dec. 2018 On YouTube, propaganda videos and conspiracy theories abound. Valentina Palladino, Ars Technica, "YouTube to fight fake news with links to real news and context," 10 July 2018 But fighting has been fierce and Emirati troops have been killed, with Houthi propaganda videos showing their armored vehicles disabled and set ablaze. Washington Post, "UAE’s campaign for Yemen port city a test of ‘Little Sparta’," 18 June 2018 This week, Trump was caught on camera in a North Korean propaganda video saluting one of Kim's generals at the Singapore summit, despite his past criticisms of Obama for shows of respect to the likes of the Japanese emperor. Eli Stokols, latimes.com, "Trump voices admiration and envy of Kim Jong Un, underscoring his respect for autocrats," 15 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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Statistics for propaganda

Last Updated

2 Jul 2019

Look-up Popularity

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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Comments on propaganda

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