Alphadictionary.com

Our Sponsors

Technical Translation
Website Translation Clip Art
 

DEMAGOGUE

Use this forum to discuss past Good Words.

DEMAGOGUE

Postby Dr. Goodword » Mon Oct 01, 2012 11:40 pm

• demagogue •


Pronunciation: dem-ê-gahg • Hear it!

Part of Speech: Noun

Meaning: An unprincipled orator who appeals to the passions and prejudices of the mob; a political agitator.

Notes: The long political season in the US presents many, many opportunities for demagogue spotters. Demagogues are the ones practicing demagoguery, the abstract noun accompanying this personal noun. The noun may be used as a verb, as to demagogue unabashedly. We have our choice of two adjectives, demagogic or demagogical, but we have to use the latter for the adverb: demagogically. Careful not to substitute an O for the A in the middle.

In Play: As I mentioned before, now is the best time to observe demagogues: "No time like the election season to bring the demagogues out of the woodwork en masse." We sometimes meet demagogues who are not running for office, too: "Dutch Masters is such a pompous demagogue; he just can't come down off that soapbox of his."

Word History: Today's Good Word we took directly from Greek demagogos "popular leader, mob leader", from demos "people" + agogos "leader", from agein "to lead". This word was used disparagingly from its first written appearance in Athens in the fifth century BCE. We see demos also in democracy "people power" and pandemic "(disease affecting) all people", from pan "all" + demos "people". We find the root of agogos in Latin agere "to act, to do", from which we get agent and agile. The past participle of agere was actus, which went on to motivate many other words we borrowed: act, active, actor, transact, and all the verbs ending on -ate. (Jay Gilliam suggested today's Good Word most undemagogically.)
• The Good Dr. Goodword
User avatar
Dr. Goodword
Site Admin
 
Posts: 3563
Joined: Wed Feb 02, 2005 9:28 am
Location: Lewisburg, PA

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby MTC » Tue Oct 02, 2012 7:45 am

Dr. Goodword's sour word choice--oleaginous, hubbub, demagogue-- leads straight to Wednesday's presidential debate. On guard!

(This message paid for by CADD, Citizens Against Demagogues and Demagoguery.)
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Tue Oct 02, 2012 12:30 pm

:lol:
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby Slava » Tue Oct 02, 2012 3:24 pm

Let us hope it was not approved by a cad, however.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4686
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Tue Oct 02, 2012 4:32 pm

The definition above says the demagogue is an orator. I'm not sure the word should be so limited. My principle picture is a leader unprincipledly(?) governing with an iron fist. Assad would be one example, as would several governors who run over people.
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2392
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby Slava » Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:33 pm

Assad is a tyrant and a dictator. A demagogue can be much lower down the totem pole. At least that's my take on the difference.
Life is like playing chess with chessmen who each have thoughts and feelings and motives of their own.
User avatar
Slava
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 4686
Joined: Thu Sep 28, 2006 9:31 am
Location: Finger Lakes, NY

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby LukeJavan8 » Wed Oct 03, 2012 1:07 pm

Slava wrote:Assad is a tyrant and a dictator. A demagogue can be much lower down the totem pole. At least that's my take on the difference.




I concur.
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
User avatar
LukeJavan8
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 3479
Joined: Fri Oct 09, 2009 6:16 pm
Location: Land of the Flat Water

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby call_copse » Thu Oct 04, 2012 5:56 am

Of course a country's leader can be a demagogue, however they can be found in many circumstances - a union leader may appeal to a (valid) sense of injustice to gain popularity or a school PE teacher making fun of weedy pupils for cheap laughs from the gallery are both examples of demagoguery. Political leaders who particularly play on fears of 'the other' i.e. base their oratory on sly racism to me are demagogues. The 'dog-whistle' politics recently much practised I believe in the US are a good example of doing this, while keeping the obvious demagoguery low on the radar.

Assad is not so much the demagogue (in my book) as he does not seem to care too much what his subjects think, he just rules by oppression.
Iain
User avatar
call_copse
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:42 am
Location: Southampton

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby MTC » Thu Oct 04, 2012 12:12 pm

Demagogues evolve into tyrants the way larvae evolve into wasps.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby Philip Hudson » Fri Oct 05, 2012 12:42 am

call_copse introduced the phrase "'dog-whistle' politics" to me. I am grateful. While reading Wikipedia, I think I heard some dog whistling about dog whistlers. I usually find Wikipedia to be reliable. Someone overstepped her/his traces in the "dog-whistle" entry.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1777
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby call_copse » Mon Oct 08, 2012 7:02 am

Hi MTC, indeed they do, should they successfully break out of that larval stage. For this to occur they tend to require adequate charisma to persuade others to follow them.

Philip, I am not quite sure what you mean. Do you have a clear point you might wish to make? I am sure it might be interesting to hear if so. Unfortunately your reference to overstepping traces is a little cryptic to carry across cyberspace :(
Iain
User avatar
call_copse
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:42 am
Location: Southampton

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby Philip Hudson » Mon Oct 08, 2012 9:58 am

To overstep ones traces is an idiom that comes from the position of a horse in a team of horses. The traces are the pulling apparati designed for each horse in the team. A horse can sometimes get his traces tangled or get out of them altogether. Thus, when someone oversteps her/his traces, he/she speaks of what she/he knows not or should not speak. This idiom may be limited to the southern USA. I think I was referring to pejorative discussions about Hillary Clinton in the Wikipedia article on dog whistle. I felt they were out of place, i.e. not true.
It is dark at night, but the Sun will come up and then we can see.
Philip Hudson
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1777
Joined: Thu Feb 23, 2006 4:41 am
Location: Texas

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby MTC » Mon Oct 08, 2012 12:34 pm

The idiom "overstep one's traces" has an ancient ancestor, "ultra crepidam," Latin for "beyond the sandal." The Latin phrase fused into the English verb "ultracrepidate" whose meaning and fascinating etymology would be good subjects to discuss if they have not been already.
MTC
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 1070
Joined: Mon Apr 05, 2010 11:40 am
Location: Pasadena

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby Perry Lassiter » Mon Oct 08, 2012 5:24 pm

And lotsa fun to work into a conversation!
pl
Perry Lassiter
Grand Panjandrum
 
Posts: 2392
Joined: Wed Jan 03, 2007 12:41 pm
Location: RUSTON, LA

Re: DEMAGOGUE

Postby call_copse » Tue Oct 09, 2012 9:09 am

Ahh, I see Philip, thanks.

And I am definitely going to try and use ultracrepidate in a sentence sometime soon.
Iain
User avatar
call_copse
Lexiterian
 
Posts: 303
Joined: Fri Nov 20, 2009 7:42 am
Location: Southampton

Next

Return to Good Word Discussion

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: Yahoo [Bot] and 7 guests