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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 ?
The greater danger is, however, that the demagogues will drive even mainstream politicians into their camp.
Years have passed, but I remain very skeptical of religious demagogues in our time who use a mixture of religious and political rhetoric to justify their claims for financial or political advancement.
Ahmadinejad is described as a hard-Line demagogue, yet students seem not to fear attacking him, even storming his car after his recent university speech.
Plus, those who just can't get enough of this digital demagogue can find more unsolicited advice at the CyberMom Web site (www.
You call Beck a nut-job demagogue, and we should call you, to be polite, a simple-minded liberal hack/fraud who sounds like a nut-job demagogue," wrote Joe Plumitallo.
Let's stipulate that Hugo Chavez is a petty tyrant, a demagogue, an outspoken anti-Semite and not a friend to America.
The first step was predictable: demagogue Israel, offering speeches about a second Holocaust while making clear that Iran is not only anti-Israel, but anti-Jewish.
In the Knights, the revolution is set in historical Athens and features the reigning demagogue Cleon on stage, while in the Assemblywomen, the revolution abstracts from contemporary circumstances and is not driven by any known historical figure.
Bruce Prescott of Mainstream Baptists Oklahoma (and a member of the Americans United Board of Trustees), observed in his blog, "Only a fundamentalist demagogue who has made a career of 'manipulating' and 'brainwashing' people to read the Bible through medieval lenses could find cartoon characters teaching tolerance so threatening.
Many people in Cleveland had always thought that Dennis Kucinich was a vicious little demagogue who would walk over his own grandmother if she stood in the way of his climb to higher office.
His views on many subjects are totally politically incorrect or, in old fashioned English, common sensical: he prefers 'Glenlivet in finely spun glass to instant coffee in airport cardboard[ldots] and would have no shame in demonstrating to some academic demagogue that a 'value judgement' can be risked between King Lear and Getting Gertie's Garter.
We are in Kosovo because Europe's worst demagogue has once again moved from angry words to unspeakable violence.