dem·a·gogue also dem·a·gog (dĕmə-gôg′, -gŏg′)
1. A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.
2. A leader of the common people in ancient times.
v. dem·a·gogued, dem·a·gogu·ing, dem·a·goguesalso dem·a·goged , dem·a·go·ging , dem·a·goges
Usage Problem To speak about (an issue, for example) in the manner of a demagogue.
Usage Problem To speak in the manner of a demagogue.
[Greek dēmagōgos, popular leader : dēmos, people; see dā- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots + agōgos, leading (from agein, to lead; see ag- in the Appendix of Indo-European roots).]
Usage Note: Even though demagogue has been used as a verb meaning “to speak about something with the tactics of a demagogue” since the 1600s, the verb has kept a low profile in the language. The Usage Panel does not view the verb with much favor in either its transitive or intransitive use. In our 2016 survey, between 85 and 89 percent of the Usage Panel rejected it in a range of intransitive and transitive examples. These results are only slightly more favorable than when this issue was last balloted, nearly two decades earlier. Perhaps this continued resistance should not be surprising, since the use of familiar nouns as verbs is often the subject of complaints.
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