An example of a demagogue is Joseph Stalin.
- Obs. a leader of the common people
- a person who tries to stir up the people by appeals to emotion, prejudice, etc. in order to win them over quickly and so gain power
Origin of demagoguefrom Classical Greek d?mag?gos, leader of the people from d?mos, the people (see democracy) + ag?gos, leader from agein, to lead: see act
intransitive verb-·gogued· or -·goged·, -·gogu·ing or -·gog·ing
- A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.
- A leader of the common people in ancient times.
transitive verbdem·a·gogued, dem·a·gogu·ing, dem·a·gogues, also dem·a·goged dem·a·go·ging dem·a·goges
Origin of demagogueGreek dēmagōgos popular leader dēmos people ; see dā- in Indo-European roots. agōgos leading ( from agein to lead ; see ag- in Indo-European roots.)
Usage Note: Even though demagogue has been used as a verb meaning “to speak about something in the manner of a demagogue” since the 1600s, the verb has kept a low profile in the language. Recently, however, it has become a favorite of newspaper columnists. The Usage Panel does not view the verb with much favor in either its transitive or intransitive use. In our 1997 survey, 94 percent rejected it in the sentence Clinton will demagogue Medicare, unwilling to acknowledge that fundamental reforms need to be made in the system. A similar percentage rejected an example in which a representative can demagogue about price-fixing. Perhaps this resistance should not be surprising, since the use of familiar nouns as verbs is often the subject of complaints.
(third-person singular simple present demagogues, present participle demagoguing, simple past and past participle demagogued)
- (intransitive and) To speak or act in the manner of a demagogue; to speak about (an issue) in the manner of a demagogue.
From Ancient Greek δημαγωγός (demagogos, “popular leader, mob leader”), from δῆμος (demos, “people”) + ἀγωγός (agogos, “guide”).