fas​cism | \ ?fa-?shi-z?m also ?fa-?si- How to pronounce fascism (audio) \

Definition of fascism

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1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (such as that of the Fascisti) that exalts nation and often race above the individual and that stands for a centralized autocratic government headed by a dictatorial leader, severe economic and social regimentation, and forcible suppression of opposition
2 : a tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control early instances of army fascism and brutality— J. W. Aldridge

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Other Words from fascism

fascist \ ?fa-​shist How to pronounce fascist (audio) also  -​sist \ noun or adjective, often capitalized
fascistic \ fa-​?shi-​stik How to pronounce fascistic (audio) also  -​?si-​ \ adjective, often capitalized
fascistically \ fa-​?shi-​sti-​k(?-​)l How to pronounce fascistically (audio) also  -​?si-​ \ adverb, often capitalized

The Italian Origin of Fascism

The English words fascism and fascist are borrowings from Italian fascismo and fascista, derivatives of fascio (plural fasci), bundle, fasces, group. Fascista was first used in 1914 to refer to members of a fascio, or political group. In 1919, fascista was applied to the black-shirted members of Benito Mussolinis organization, the Fasci di combattimento (combat groups), who seized power in Italy in 1922. Playing on the word fascista, Mussolinis party adopted the fasces, a bundle of rods with an ax among them, as a symbol of the Italian people united and obedient to the single authority of the state. The English word fascist was first used for members of Mussolinis fascisti, but it has since been generalized to those of similar beliefs.

Examples of fascism in a Sentence

From the first hours of Hitler's invasion of the Soviet Union, the propagandists on both sides of the conflict portrayed the struggle in stark, Manichaean language. The totalitarian nature of both regimes made this inevitable. On one side stood Hitler, fascism, the myth of German supremacy; on the other side stood Stalin, communism, and the international proletarian revolution. — Anne Applebaum, New York Review of Books, 25 Oct. 2007 Consider what happened during the crisis of global fascism. At first, even the truth about Hitler was inconvenient. Many in the west hoped the danger would simply go away. — Al Gore, An Inconvenient Truth, 2006 He collected stories about groups similar to hisAryans, other Nazis, the KKK. Lately, he'd been flagging many stories from Germany and Eastern Europe, and was quite thrilled with the rise of fascism there. — John Grisham, The Chamber, 1995 the rise of Fascism in Europe before World War II
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Recent Examples on the Web

Immediately after the war, some in Germany worked to absolve themselves of responsibility for war atrocities and construct the notion of German victimhood or the power of the Soviet state in defeating fascism. Gail Fletcher, National Geographic, "The forgotten wolf children of World War II," 29 July 2019 The animating spirit of fascism its martial zeal for a statist utopian vision seems quite welcome in the citadels of modern liberalism. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "Mussolini and the End of Liberal Democracy," 25 June 2019 Some discern in them the return of fascism, pointing to the dark history of several of the national populist parties and their willingness to overlook the hateful views of their most extreme supporters. Matthew Goodwin, WSJ, "Europes Populists Are Here to Stay," 14 June 2019 Milan, Italy One popular myth about European fascism is that its roots were planted in the rancid soil of Versailles the Treaty of Versailles, that is, signed a century ago, on June 28, 1919, which officially ended the First World War. Joseph Loconte, National Review, "Mussolini and the End of Liberal Democracy," 25 June 2019 According to The Guardian, the man the teen interrupted is a leader of the neo-fascist CasaPound party, a group that has helped renormalize fascism in a country with an ugly history on the subject. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "An Italian Teen Identified as Simone Went Viral for Counterprotesting Fascists," 8 Apr. 2019 In his 20s and 30s, Johnson was an advocate of fascism and Nazism but later disavowed them. Brenda Cronin, WSJ, "Man in the Glass House Examines an Architect of the 20th Century," 3 Nov. 2018 More recently, the company also took down 32 pages and accounts last month that reached 290,000 people with ads, events and regular posts on topics such as race, fascism and feminism. Tony Romm, The Seattle Times, "Russia and Iran created 652 Facebook pages, groups and accounts to mislead users around the world, company says," 21 Aug. 2018 Ultimately, after fighting in the Spanish Civil War, Elias becomes a leader in the fight against fascism. Lloyd Sachs, chicagotribune.com, "Murder abroad: Crime fiction roundup features thrillers set in France, Italy and Spain," 11 June 2018

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'fascism.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of fascism

1921, in the meaning defined at sense 1

History and Etymology for fascism

Italian fascismo, from fascio bundle, fasces, group, from Latin fascis bundle & fasces fasces

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More Definitions for fascism



English Language Learners Definition of fascism

: a way of organizing a society in which a government ruled by a dictator controls the lives of the people and in which people are not allowed to disagree with the government
: very harsh control or authority


noun, often capitalized
fas​cism | \ ?fa-?shi-z?m How to pronounce fascism (audio) \

Kids Definition of fascism

: a political system headed by a dictator in which the government controls business and labor and opposition is not permitted

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Comments on fascism

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a wrong name or inappropriate designation

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