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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
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.



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.

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.
References in periodicals archive ?
The antidote to a fascist or a demagogue arising cannot be symptomatic.
Trump is among many demagogues who promise to restore a state of primal wholeness, defining this unity of the people against the insidiously divided loyalties of transnational elites.
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.
His goal is power, the legacy of a life spent as a soldier and a political demagogue. This is not to suggest that Chavez and his collaborators are not sacking the Venezuelan treasury: sources in-country confirm that self-enrichment remains a great tradition.
Whatever was this dangerous demagogue alluding to, they myopically wondered?
For the five years in the early 1950s he conducted a very public witch-hunt for communists infiltrating the US government, Senator Joseph McCarthy "may have been the most destructive demagogue in American history," notes Wicker (a former national political correspondent for The New York Times).
The plot concerns a cunning demagogue who plans to thwart the return of devolved government as a prelude to converting the world to Free Presbyterianism.
Regarding your piece "Requiem for an Iconoclast" [The World, June 11] about the murder of openly gay Dutch politician Pim Fortuyn: It seems to me that the word demagogue would be more fitting.
I stopped buying it some time ago as I felt it had become irresponsible by giving a national platform to an opportunist and a demagogue Tommy Sheridan
Some listen and report because they like what the demagogue says, because in their intense partisanship they welcome the aid of any man who will discredit their "foes." But these are in the minority, and most members of the press soon feel distaste for the demagogue and are intensely dubious of his motives.
Lasting peace can only be achieved in Kosovo and the Balkans once "Europe's worst demagogue" Slobodan Milosevic has been removed from power, President Clinton said.