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(sometimes US), demagog
1. a political agitator who appeals with crude oratory to the prejudice and passions of the mob
2. (esp in the ancient world) any popular political leader or orator



in ancient Greece, particularly in Athens of classical times, a term initially used for politicians of a democratic leaning (Themistocles and Pericles, for example). Gradually the term began to acquire a pejorative connotation among opponents of democracy. It came to refer to activists who sought to earn popularity through false promises, flattery at popular assemblies, and the like. The term has been preserved with this meaning in modern political terminology.

References in periodicals archive ?
In the interim, these politicians can continue their demagogic sparring with windmills in order to stay in office.
Like a child trying to draw attention from other people by crying, the marginalised old monk started a round of false accusations which were rhetorically inflammatory and demagogic but untenable in fact," a Xinhua commentary said.
Tehran's domestic and foreign policies remind me of the Soviet Union of the 1980s, when the Kremlin publicly conducted a highly demagogic battle against imperialism but privately tried to find common language with the West on many fronts.
It was later exploited by dictators like Colonel Nasser and Saddam Hussein to further their demagogic causes rather than developing naturally into an economic zone like the European Common Market--the forerunner of the European Union--or the Gulf Co-operation Council.
Newsweek counters the demagogic argument that simply counting the populations of China and India, or the tall buildings in Shanghai, leads to the conclusion that America is imperiled.
Beyond the immediate political and media hype and demagogic demonization of any resistance to US and Israeli policies in the region, the core issues are not new.
Insofar as the academic reaction is concerned, with a few exceptions, I think there has been too much of an uncritical inclination to use that term and to be insufficiently sensitive to its highly demagogic and emotional connotations.
There is a tempting agenda, but it is a demagogic one--nationalism mixed with a touch of xenophobia: Close up the borders; reduce immigration: eliminate outsourcing; restrict foreign takeovers: and stop regional free trade agreements.
the character of Odysseus was scorned by most of the Athenians: he illustrated the archetype of the demagogic, unscrupulous and ambitious politicians that had led Athens to its doom.
Hitler's 'skilful demagogic use of historical myths' eventually focused on Bismarck and that other equally unpleasant Prussian, Frederick the Great.
Koizumi's demagogic manner is personally unwelcome, but it could be unavoidable in a time of change.