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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 People Speak argues that, in Bavaria at least, a grass roots, "modern" antisemitism, stimulated by inventive journalistic demagogues, emerged in the immediate wake of the 1848 revolutions, considerably before the period identified by most historians.
How could trust not be shattered when everyone now knows that the political demagogues used vile deceit to get Greece into the eurozone in 2001?
And he identifies the worst sort of demagogues as the primary opponents of globalization, be it Pat Buchanan, or Jean-Marie Le Pen in France, or Islamic fundamentalists in the Middle East.
This new worker was capable of making choices in his or her best political interests, no longer the mere dupe of demagogues.
I have written many times that the irresponsible behaviour of the public employee unions, which was systematically encouraged and supported by our political demagogues, was the main reason for the economic collapse of the state.
Thus increasing the possibility of their falling prey to demagogues.
Under such a system, there would be no factions grasping for power, no demagogues appealing for votes, and no sliding into totalitarianism.
Thus it is a better-than-even-money proposition that Murdoch and company are counting on the Jesse Ventura factor, betting they can cash in on larger-than-life demagogues like the fictional Howard Beale in ``Network'' (``I'm as mad as hell, and I'm not going to take this anymore'').
and fads the periodic re-intrusion into professional discussion of popular superstitions which earlier generations of economists had successfully driven back into the circles of cranks and demagogues.
This is public policy crafted in the theater of the absurd and acted out by political demagogues.
With the right more virulent than ever, we need someone of Ralph Nader's stature to take on the demagogues, not to dodge them.
THE DEMAGOGUES of the opposition parties may express an opinion on every story in the news but on one issue they have all gone silent -- the Greek government's abject failure to impose its wishes on its lenders, or should we say the institutions.