brain·​wash·​ing | \ ˈbrān-ˌwȯ-shiŋ How to pronounce brainwashing (audio) , -ˌwä- \

Definition of brainwashing

1 : a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas
2 : persuasion by propaganda or salesmanship

Other Words from brainwashing

brainwash \ ˈbrān-​ˌwȯsh How to pronounce brainwashing (audio) , -​ˌwäsh \ transitive verb
brainwash noun
brainwasher noun

Examples of brainwashing in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web Dark Persuasion suggests that the language of brainwashing is incommensurate with the problems of our time, and a hangover from the era of America’s most paranoid wars. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, 17 Aug. 2021 The problem is the popular use of the word is often used to describe authoritarian groups that practice mind control or brainwashing. Mathew Schmalz, The Conversation, 5 Aug. 2021 After some kick-ass action, Barnes seems to be at least partially released of his brainwashing by the action of the film. Brian Tallerico, Vulture, 18 Mar. 2021 And how strange things that can happen between human beings, and the mechanism, brainwashing and all that. Risa Sarachan, Forbes, 13 May 2021 Shuri, the sister of the Black Panther/King T’Challa of Wakanda, helped Bucky overcome his brainwashing. Felecia Wellington Radel, USA TODAY, 20 Mar. 2021 This is Granny Goodness, another servant of Darkseid who trains elite soldiers for her lord using a combination of sadism, torture, and brainwashing. James Grebey, Vulture, 18 Mar. 2021 In some cases, deprogrammers would kidnap a group member, detain them for hours or days, and use arguments and videos to try to undo the brainwashing. Michael Schulson/undark, Popular Science, 4 Mar. 2021 Reyes said lawyers who wish to make a case for brainwashing or political radicalization would have to demonstrate that their clients have a strong enough mental disability to prevent them from knowing right from wrong. Kevin Krause, Dallas News, 31 Jan. 2021

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'brainwashing.' 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 brainwashing

1950, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for brainwashing

translation of Chinese (Beijing) xǐnǎo

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Time Traveler for brainwashing

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The first known use of brainwashing was in 1950

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Dictionary Entries Near brainwashing

brain twister



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Cite this Entry

“Brainwashing.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for brainwashing


brain·​wash·​ing | \ ˈbrān-ˌwȯsh-iŋ, -ˌwäsh- How to pronounce brainwashing (audio) \

Medical Definition of brainwashing

: a forcible indoctrination to induce someone to give up basic political, social, or religious beliefs and attitudes and to accept contrasting regimented ideas

Other Words from brainwashing

brainwash transitive verb
brainwash noun
brainwasher noun


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