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The Complete Vocabulary Builder Workbook



How to pronounce demagogue (audio)

Dictionary definition of demagogue

A political leader who seeks support by appealing to the emotions and prejudices of the people rather than by using rational argument.
"The demagogue used fear-mongering tactics to win votes."

Detailed meaning of demagogue

A demagogue often uses inflammatory language and demagogic tactics to stir up fears and passions, to scapegoat and vilify minorities or opponents, and to portray themselves as the champion of the common people against the corrupt elite or establishment. Demagogues often rely on propaganda, demagogy, and demagoguery to manipulate the masses and to gain and maintain their support, even if it means resorting to lies, half-truths, and exaggerations. However, demagogues are often criticized for their lack of substance, their disregard for truth and reason, and their tendency to undermine democracy and human rights.

Example sentences containing demagogue

1. The demagogue riled up the crowd with fiery speeches.
2. History is rife with examples of demagogues exploiting fear.
3. A demagogue's rhetoric can polarize a nation.
4. The demagogue's charisma masked his true intentions.
5. Citizens should be wary of demagogues who manipulate emotions.
6. The demagogue's manipulation of facts caused unrest.

History and etymology of demagogue

The noun 'demagogue' has its etymological origins in Greek. It is derived from the Greek word 'dēmagōgos,' which is a combination of 'dēmos,' meaning 'the people,' and 'agein,' meaning 'to lead' or 'to guide.' Therefore, 'demagogue' can be understood as 'a leader or guide of the people.' In its original sense, it did not carry the negative connotations it does today. However, over time, the term evolved to describe a political leader who seeks support by appealing to the emotions and prejudices of the people rather than by using rational argument. In contemporary usage, a demagogue is often seen as exploiting popular sentiments for personal gain or to gain political power. The etymology of 'demagogue' reflects its historical connection to the idea of a leader who emerges from and guides the people but also highlights the potential for manipulation and exploitation of the public's emotions and prejudices for political ends.

Quiz: Find the meaning of demagogue

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Further usage examples of demagogue

1. Demagogues often rely on scapegoating to gain support.
2. A demagogue's rise to power can be swift and alarming.
3. The demagogue's inflammatory language incited violence.
4. Media plays a role in exposing demagoguery.
5. A demagogue's populism can appeal to disillusioned voters.
6. Demagogues thrive in times of social and economic unrest.
7. The demagogue's tactics were divisive and harmful.
8. Leaders should promote unity, not emulate demagogues.
9. The demagogue's cult of personality obscured his flaws.
10. History teaches us the dangers of unchecked demagoguery.
11. Demagogues often use fear to consolidate power.
12. A vigilant electorate can resist the allure of demagogues.
13. Democracy depends on rejecting demagogic leaders.
14. The demagogue's downfall came when his lies were exposed.
15. Many people are wary of demagogues who exploit popular grievances.
16. The demagogue rallied his supporters with fiery rhetoric.
17. Some demagogues use conspiracy theories to gain followers.
18. The politician was accused of being a demagogue by his opponents.
19. The demagogue's speeches were full of appeals to emotions rather than reason.
20. Some demagogues have risen to power by exploiting economic inequality.
21. The demagogue's divisive tactics have created a lot of social unrest.
22. Many demagogues have a cult-like following among their supporters.
23. The demagogue's scapegoating of minority groups was widely condemned.
24. Some people are attracted to demagogues because of their charismatic personalities.
25. The rise of demagoguery poses a threat to democracy and human rights.



agitator, peacemaker, unifier, reconciler


Communication and Expression, Governance and Authority, Influence and Persuasion, Manipulation and Deception, Politics and Government

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