demagogue

WORD FOR THE DAY

I was paging through the dictionary.com site looking for a word for today. (Is paging the correct term?) I came across the word demagogue. Here’s a word whose meaning has mutated over the years.

demagogue – A leader who tries to stir up people by appeals to emotion, prejudice, etc., in order to achieve power. (dictionary.com)
But originally it meant a leader of the common people.

The root of demagogue is the same as the root for democracy. It comes from the Greek demagogos meaning a leader of the people, which derives from demos, the people + agogos, leading. ( BTW, -cracy is from the Greek, -kratia, meaning power or rule.)

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