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

This isn’t simple propaganda: Fake news doesn’t necessarily, or only, serve to promote a government, its vision, and its work. Annalisa Merelli, Quartz, "Fake news has been enabling fascism for a whole century," 15 Aug. 2019 As the protests have continued to escalate, China has begun to crack down even harder, and its propaganda machine has sought to portray some of the protesters as challenging national sovereignty. Marc Bain, Quartzy, "Why fashion brands are rushing to apologize in China," 12 Aug. 2019 During the First World War, the U.S. government enlisted American artists to produce twenty million propaganda posters. Hua Hsu, The New Yorker, "How Posters Became Art," 1 July 2019 There was propaganda and movies about her, and footage released showing her with Kim Il Sung. Alex Ward, Vox, "The secret life of Kim Jong Un," 20 June 2019 The best use of his genius wouldn’t be to serve Biafra as a roving ambassador like Achebe, or to work creatively, composing poems or anthems, or designing propaganda posters as the artist Uche Okeke did. Emmanuel Iduma, The New York Review of Books, "‘Gone Like a Meteor’: Epitaph for the Lost Youth of the Biafran War," 30 May 2019 Since 2018, Patriot Front has been linked to more than 870 reports of racist propaganda across the country: more than 40 percent of all such incidents in the country. Brian Chasnoff, ExpressNews.com, "‘A Perfect Storm’ — online hate and political winds whip up white supremacy," 10 Aug. 2019 Warning people that propaganda is literally un-American may help build resistance. Rod Rosenstein, Time, "How To Stop White Supremacist Terrorism," 8 Aug. 2019 Prince Wilhelm, the son of the last Kaiser, has been called a mouthpiece for Nazi propaganda. The Economist, "The Kaiser’s family’s claims for restitution provoke a backlash," 1 Aug. 2019

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

27 Aug 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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