fascism

noun
fas·​cism | \ ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm How to pronounce fascism (audio) also ˈfa-ˌsi- \

Definition of fascism

1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control early instances of army fascism and brutality— J. W. Aldridge

Other Words from fascism

fascist \ ˈfa-​shist How to pronounce fascism (audio) also  -​sist \ noun or adjective, often capitalized
fascistic \ fa-​ˈshi-​stik How to pronounce fascism (audio) also  -​ˈsi-​ \ adjective, often capitalized
fascistically \ fa-​ˈshi-​sti-​k(ə-​)lē How to pronounce fascism (audio) also  -​ˈsi-​ \ adverb, often capitalized

The Italian Origin of Fascism

The words fascism and fascist have long been associated with the Fascisti of Benito Mussolini and the fasces, the bundle of rods with an ax among them, which the Fascisti used as a symbol of the Italian people united and obedient to the single authority of the state. However, Mussolini did not introduce the word fascista (plural fascisti) with the 1919 organization of the Fasci di combattimento (“combat groups”), nor did the fasces have any direct connection with the origin of fascista. In Italian, the word fascio (plural fasci) means literally “bundle,” and figuratively “group.” From at least 1872 fascio was used in the names of labor and agrarian unions, and in October 1914 a political coalition was formed called the Fascio rivoluzionario d’ azione internazionalista (“revolutionary group for international action”), which advocated Italian participation in World War I on the side of the Allies. Members of this group were first called fascisti in January 1915. Although Mussolini was closely associated with this interventionist movement, it had no direct link with the post-war Fasci di combattimento, and in 1919 the word fascista was already in political circulation. It is, however, to the Fascisti in their 1919 incarnation—who seized power in Italy three years later—that we owe the current customary meanings of our words fascism and fascist.

Examples of fascism in a Sentence

From the first hours of Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, the propagandists on both sides of the conflict portrayed the struggle in stark, Manichaean language. The totalitarian nature of both regimes made this inevitable. On one side stood Hitler, fascism, the myth of German supremacy; on the other side stood Stalin, communism, and the international proletarian revolution. — Anne Applebaum, New York Review of Books, 25 Oct. 2007 Consider what happened during the crisis of global fascism. At first, even the truth about Hitler was inconvenient. Many in the west hoped the danger would simply go away. — Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006 He collected stories about groups similar to his—Aryans, other Nazis, the KKK. Lately, he'd been flagging many stories from Germany and Eastern Europe, and was quite thrilled with the rise of fascism there. — John Grisham, The Chamber, 1995 the rise of Fascism in Europe before World War II
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Recent Examples on the Web The other possibility is, of course, that all these scions of a superrich clan were predisposed to tip toward fascism anyway. Jo Livingstone, The New Republic, 15 Oct. 2021 The family fled Italy during fascism’s rise, ultimately making their way to England. Los Angeles Times, 21 Dec. 2021 Yet their brilliance lies in their ability to sneak in heavier thematic content, speaking to systematic oppression, corruption and fascism. Courtney Howard, Variety, 21 Sep. 2021 The Depression was biting hard, and in Europe, fascism was ascendant. Washington Post, 1 Sep. 2021 Many critics see this as the latest sign of a growing fondness for authoritarianism and even fascism on the American right. Damon Linker, The Week, 10 Aug. 2021 But the switch stuck in his mind as a way to physically portray the repugnance of fascism through a rodent-eating alien race. Los Angeles Times, 7 Dec. 2021 For the moment, Zemmour’s rise is, at minimum, a reminder that every country finds its own style of fascism. Adam Gopnik, The New Yorker, 3 Dec. 2021 Giannini starred as a foolish man with seven ugly sisters who’s obsessed with notions of honor in the years of Italian fascism and the Nazi occupation of the country. NBC News, 10 Dec. 2021

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

1921, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fascism

Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces

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Time Traveler for fascism

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The first known use of fascism was in 1921

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Dictionary Entries Near fascism

fascioloid

fascism

fascismo

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Last Updated

23 Jan 2022

Cite this Entry

“Fascism.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/fascism. Accessed 27 Jan. 2022.

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More Definitions for fascism

fascism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of fascism

: a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government
: very harsh control or authority

fascism

noun, often capitalized
fas·​cism | \ ˈfa-ˌshi-zəm How to pronounce fascism (audio) \

Kids Definition of fascism

: a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted

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