propaganda

noun
pro·​pa·​gan·​da | \ ˌprä-pə-ˈgan-də How to pronounce propaganda (audio) , ˌprō- \

Essential Meaning 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. He was accused of spreading propaganda. a propaganda campaign The report was nothing but lies and propaganda.

Full 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

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 The Taliban crackdown has sent shock waves through the province and is emerging in Islamic State recruitment propaganda calling on Nangahar residents to rise up and resist. The Washington Post, Arkansas Online, 23 Nov. 2021 The clip was neo-Nazi propaganda, filled with debunked, hateful conspiracy theories about Jews and people of color. Will Carless, USA TODAY, 19 Nov. 2021 Ahead of this week’s plenum, Chinese state media propaganda extolling Xi’s virtues went into overdrive. Christian Shepherd, BostonGlobe.com, 11 Nov. 2021 Known for: heavy promotion of Seth Rich conspiracies; claim that Rogue One: A Star Wars Story was anti-Trump propaganda. Michael Tomasky, The New Republic, 27 Oct. 2021 Many of the movies screened so far are old propaganda that were popular during the time of Mao Zedong, who led Communist China from its founding in 1949 until his death in 1976. Laura He, CNN, 4 Oct. 2021 But, as Hayhoe began to speak, the group became more receptive—her speech wasn’t political propaganda but an earnest effort to reconcile her faith with the scientific consensus. Eliza Griswold, The New Yorker, 16 Sep. 2021 Their arguing confirms that Together is not more PSA propaganda. Armond White, National Review, 3 Sep. 2021 But North Korean researchers say the recording appears to be authentic Kim-regime propaganda. Dasl Yoon, WSJ, 21 July 2021

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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Time Traveler for propaganda

Time Traveler

The first known use of propaganda was in 1668

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Dictionary Entries Near propaganda

propagand

propaganda

propagandee

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Statistics for propaganda

Last Updated

25 Nov 2021

Cite this Entry

“Propaganda.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/propaganda. Accessed 26 Nov. 2021.

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More Definitions for propaganda

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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