Wednesday Word for January 29, 2020

Today’s words come from a random word generator.

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Today’s Word

Part of Speech

noun

Definition

  1. A leader who makes use of popular prejudices and false claims and promises in order to gain power.
  2. A person, especially an orator or political leader, who gains power and popularity by arousing the emotions, passions, and prejudices of the people.
  3. A political agitator who appeals with crude oratory to the prejudice and passions of the mob.

History

The first recorded use of demagogue was in 1648.

When the ancient Greeks used dēmagōgos (from dēmos, meaning “people,” and agein, “to lead”) they meant someone good-a leader who used outstanding oratorical skills to further the interests of the common people. Mid-17th-century writers such as Thomas Hobbes and John Dryden-and, later, Jonathan Swift-employed the English word that way. But, at the same time, the word took a negative turn, coming to suggest one who uses powers of persuasion to sway and mislead. “A plausible, insignificant word, in the mouth of an expert demagogue, is a dangerous and a dreadful weapon,” declared Robert South, known for his sermons, in 1716.

~https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/demagogue

Synonyms

agitator, fomenter, provocateur

Usage and Examples

Here is an example:

  1. Jack Duncan was a demagogue, through and through.
  2. The new governor, it turned out, was a demagogue.

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