Word of the Day Archive
Friday March 24, 2000
1. A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.
2. A leader of the common people in ancient times.
This was to have held a sculpture of a Roman charioteer driving four horses, but the work was never completed, leaving behind what looks like a diving board or a futurist balcony, ideally suited for a demagogue exhorting a throng below.
-- Michael Z. Wise, "A Fascist Utopia Adapted for Today", New York Times
A consummate demagogue, McCarthy played upon cold war emotions and made charges so fantastic that frightened people believed the worst.
-- Arthur Herman, Joseph McCarthy
Even when he showed his true colors as a demagogue and trickster, Stalin did so in such a crisp and weighty, confidence-inspiring manner that he bewitched not only his conversational partner but himself as well.
-- Milovan Djilase, Fall of the New Class, July 11, 1999
Demagogue derives from Greek demagogos, "a leader of the people," from demos, "the people" + agogos, "leading, one who leads," from agein, "to lead."