Merriam-Webster Issues Plea About “Fascism”

Somehow the right wing Washington Examiner manages not to mention Trump in their story about this tweet, which was flagged for us by JMG reader John.

The good people at Merriam-Webster practically begged users to search for any word other than “fascism” so the dictionary company could avoid making it the word of 2016. In a tweet posted Tuesday afternoon, the company said it’s on track to name fascism its word of the year. It really doesn’t want to do that. Other dictionaries have already made their choice for word of the year. The Oxford dictionary chose “post-truth” for its word of the year and chose “xenophobia.”

  • Michael R
    • Lumpy Gaga

      Turd Nougat.

    • ColdCountry

      He is desecrating the flag! Lock him up!

    • (((Alan)))

      He looks like he took way too much of whatever he habitually takes.

  • CPT_Doom

    Is it wrong I saw this post and immediately searched for fascism on their website?

    • Earl

      No, I did it too. 🙂

    • medaka

      No, but only because I did too.

    • Refugay

      I looked it up in 3 different browsers!

    • safari

      I did, as well.

      What is surprising is I thought the definition would be much narrower since I based it on internet folk saying “that’s not fascist” for the last two years.

    • John Kusters

      If it is wrong, then I’m a bad boy too. Or perhaps a Bad Hombre…

      • Beagle

        Me seven.

  • Treant

    Actually, having “fascism” as the #1 lookup for the year sounds appropriate.

    Future historians can note that some of us, at least, saw it coming.

    • billbear1961

      And for seeing it coming, and saying so, I was told–only by one or two here on JOE but by MANY elsewhere–that I was hysterical.

      A moderator on Political Wire banned me for “overusing the word” and being “hysterical about it.”

      He’s gone now–left because too many gave him grief about his snotty disapproval of Hillary. He never could tolerate anyone standing up to him.

      I knew my days were numbered when I told him I’d express whatever damned opinion I liked.

      I’d like to ask him–and that “guest” creature who used to post here and call me hysterical–who was RIGHT, after all, about the threat of fascism in this country!!

      • Michael R

        If anyone is confused use this handy checklist . see if number 17 looks familiar because that’s what Trump started with

        1. You believe in rule by the few, in which a few powerful wealthy people control how the country is governed and decide what the population as a whole can or cannot do, often making rules that infringe upon the personal liberties of others just because you believe a certain way.

        2. You are obsessed with national power and pride and believe your country doesn’t have to follow the rules and shouldn’t ever apologize for doing things that are wrong. You think your nation can do whatever it wants without criticism or consequence.

        3. You consider homosexuality, birth control, contraception, prostitution, and pornography deviant sexual behavior and seek to outlaw all.

        4. You disrespect women and think their place is in the home. You believe women are weak and cannot do things that men do. You make every effort to make sure you get to control women’s bodies and make reproductive decisions for them. You believe that sexual harassment or assault is no big deal and that the only thing women are good for is cooking meals and having babies.

        5. You are obsessed with national security and war. You feed this obsession by spending trillions of dollars building up an over-sized military force and are willing to sacrifice domestic programs your people count on to keep your military huge. You start unnecessary and costly wars and you are paranoid of other nations.

        6. You are driven to indoctrinate others into your way of thinking. So much so, that you try to re-write history, change the way school children are taught and you brainwash the ignorant.

        7. You fear and demonize intelligent people who have a higher education because they are the ones who can thwart your effort to brainwash people. You then attempt to prevent others from achieving a higher education because you want the people as ignorant as possible so you can convince them that your way is the right way.

        8. You have a deep hatred and fear of communists and you instill your followers with hatred and fear of others by accusing your political opponents of being communists. Any person or policy you don’t like is branded as communism so you can convince your supporters to oppose it by playing on the fears you instilled in them.

        9. You use the media as a political propaganda machine to target a specific audience and to push your agenda on others. You make sure your media machine demonizes your opponents and takes your side on nearly every issue. Your media machine disregards facts in favor of flagrant rhetoric and misinformation. You use your propaganda machine to generate fear and hate towards others, especially those you disagree with.

        10. You strongly align yourself with corporations and you support corporate money and influence in government. You despise government regulations that keep corporations honest because you believe everything should be controlled by the free market and that corporations should be allowed to do whatever they please.

        11. You are obsessed with your perverted brand of Christianity. You seek to declare a Christian State and to impose religious laws on all the people across the country and the world. You believe other religions are inferior and that those who practice them should be converted, destroyed, or have their lives turned into a living hell.

        12. You believe your race is superior and seek to disenfranchise or humiliate other races. You believe in legalized discrimination and fantasize about a return to times when the races were separate or when those of color were enslaved. You use code words in an attempt to hide your racism and you make laws that weaken the influence of those of color. Immigration and voting laws in particular.

        13. You absolutely despise unions. To you and those like you, labor unions represent the empowerment of workers. Since you believe corporations can do whatever they want, you see organized labor as a threat because they fight for higher wages, health care, safety regulations, less hours, vacations, sick days, and holidays off. This obviously threatens the amount of money corporations can give to you and your cause so you brand unions as proponents of socialism and make laws that severely weaken them so that corporations can have a cheap, powerless labor force they can abuse.

        14. You are obsessed with crime and a major supporter of punishing those who commit crimes. So much so, that you don’t care about the concept of ‘innocent until proven guilty.’ You are proud of executing people and aren’t bothered if an innocent person is killed. You seek to make harsher laws, especially laws that target specific groups of people such as immigrants, women, and people of color. You even defend a militarized police force that uses heavy-handed tactics. You also try to insert religion-based laws into the civil law so you can persecute people who haven’t adopted your strict moral code. You also oppose Miranda rights and using humane interrogation tactics and you seek to undermine the independent judicial system.

        15. You believe every election should go your way and to reach that goal, you push voting laws that disenfranchise those who traditionally vote for opponents such as people of color, the elderly, college students, and the poor. You even stoop to fixing elections in some cases, especially through gerrymandering to guarantee you’ll win every time. And you complain when your opponents challenge the vote counts.

        16. You believe in rewarding your friends with positions when you gain power and you reward those who support you with government contracts and money, especially corporations. You also do your best to aid your supporters in any way you can, such as repealing undesirable pieces of legislation and regulations.

        17. You create scapegoats to blame when problems arise. Whether it’s communists, liberals, minorities, homosexuals, the poor, immigrants, or non-Christians, one thing is for certain. You and your propaganda tool will blame each and every one of those groups for bad things that happen even if you were the cause of the problems in the first place.

        18. You take advantage of a national disaster such as an economic collapse or an attack to demonize your opponents and push your agenda, especially agendas that include huge military forces and less regulations for corporations. You use these events to strike fear into the population in an attempt to scare people into voting for you and your cause.

        19. You believe in survival of the fittest, an every man for himself social mentality that causes you to believe that poor people and sick people are weak and must be punished. You think rich people are strong because they are wealthy and that they should rule us, which also ties into rule by a few. You also believe your race is superior to all others and you work diligently to keep it that way.

        20. You hate liberal democracy and dream of a single party state where you have perpetual control and your opponents can no longer stand against your agenda.

        • zhera

          In other words, the GOP.

          • Brendaekirby

            Google is paying 97$ per hour! Work for few hours and have longer with friends & family! !mj75d:
            On tuesday I got a great new Land Rover Range Rover from having earned $8752 this last four weeks.. Its the most-financialy rewarding I’ve had.. It sounds unbelievable but you wont forgive yourself if you don’t check it
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          • Librarykid

            How many Range Rovers have you bought? Do you buy a new one every Tuesday or is this a canned ham, I mean spam, you drag out for every new thread?

          • Ragnar Lothbrok

            ” and have longer with friends & family ”

            Brenda, Google pays ME $97 per hour just to LOL @ you.

          • Jerry

            It sounds like Google is also in the prostitution business.

        • Librarykid

          BUT, and this is a big but, while you believe in every man for himself, you have no trouble using the tax-payer-funded infrastructure to further your business interests.

          Also, RE: 20. these never last for long or end well. Leaders are usually last seen hanging in public places. While I have absolutely no trouble with this, you might want to reconsider if you value your own life, but only if you read and understand history

      • Guest

        Your husband, your doctor, by your own comment said you are histrionic. Many here have told you so many times to calm down.

        You claimed every set back in our fight was the end of the republic. You were right about nothing and then claim a second event, Trump proves you right. The ancient Romans had a term for your logic fail. Post hoc ergo propter hoc.

        And during the marriage equality fight you were not screaming about facism there.

        But go ahead and ignore your partner, your doctor and so many here. Ignore and pretend you are not consistently histrionic.

        • richgibson

          Not specifically commenting on this situation because I don’t have enough information, but it is very possible to have the right position for the wrong reasons.

          And we should all be appreciative of our supporters, even if they are supportive for the wrong reasons. And (insert something erudite here).

          • Guest

            Please. He has been told to calm down so many times. It was a joke to watch him in the year of marriage equality fights.

            Not commenting while commenting. Interesting.

        • billbear1961

          I have consistently said that those who oppose equality under the law for EVERY citizen are FASCISTS.

          Fuck you, you useless, CONDESCENDING goddamned IDIOT and LIAR!

          I have warned repeatedly for YEARS what refusing to stand up to right-wing propaganda would lead to, and it has come to pass!

          We are on the road to a FASCIST state–short of a miracle, absent a herculean effort of civil disobedience to prevent it, this democratic republic is very likely on its deathbed.

          And even now–even NOW–you refuse to open your goddamned eyes!

          Go to HELL!!

          Actually, stay put: hell is on its way to YOU!!

          • Guest

            Your post proves and drips with your histrionics.

            You have so little faith in our self correcting government. Just like the Bush overreach led to the 2006 Democratic wins, we will make it. And you will once again be proven to be histrionic.

            You are as bad as Trump. You both say you are the chosen one who has given truth.

            Well, I guess we watch to see your doctor’s warnings.

          • Guest

            Ever consider that you act just like those on the right that we all laugh at with their over the top, the sky is falling approach to commenting? You give this site a black eye in the public space. Smh

        • Ragnar Lothbrok

          As a ” Guest ” you have overstayed. It’s really embarrassing now.

          Oh and STFU

          • Guest

            But yet not your decision.

    • safari

      Just show them white people in infomercials for context

    • Yeah But No

      I agree. Everyone should know. Everyone should think about it.

      Fight Facism

      Fight Trump

      • John30013

        Buff Brando. Wow!

      • Ziad Baaklini


    • Diogenes Onionpants

      Future historians can note that some of us, at least, saw it coming.

      Still trying to use that to move myself to action rather than despair. I, too, looked the word up in, just to push its numbers that much higher, and noted their illustrative sentence from Al Gore:

      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

    • zhera

      The sad thing is that people need to look it up in the first place. How can people not know about fascism?

      • pepón

        Because fascism as an insult has been used until it has lost its meaning. For some people, fascists are those that disagree with you (see Billy elsewhere)

      • Treant

        Maybe they were wanting to see the formal definition to see how closely Trump matches it? I confess, I did. I know what it means, but the fine points…

        • zhera

          And maybe sending the definition to the deplorables in ones family? That’s what I’m hoping.

      • JCF

        In Red State America, it’s the very air they breathe…

    • Nic Peterson

      How about we all just look up Santorum a few million times, but make sure it falls into the #2 spot. How apropos.

  • Earl

    I just looked it up, then glanced at the comments. I didn’t know they had a comment section for the dictionary. The people who’ve been leaving comments sure read like they need the help of a dictionary, but I’m not sure they’re being helped by their visit.

    • pch1013

      They were instructed to go there by Breitbarf or Sludge or some other fascist fever swamp. They barely even know what a dictionary *is*.

      • perversatile

        They barely even know what a dictionary *is*-
        .It’s that book small children sit upon at table during the holidays

        • Mikey

          I thought it was when your penis becomes stationary after you orgasm?

  • It seems appropriate. I didn’t have anything to do with it and won’t. It would be that or misogyny. Take your pick.

  • EdmondWherever

    It’s a perfectly cromulent word.

    • safari

      Ass. 😛

    • Paula

      I find the entire situation to be very connuborous and siliphilous.

  • jm2

    yesterday, identified it’s Word of the Year is “xenophobia” – not too far away from “fascism”…

  • MikeBx2

    Hopefully “impeach” will be number 1 for 2017.

  • AW

    I just looked up deplorable and fascism.

    • Friday

      Simple and to the point. 🙂

  • billbear1961

    “There’s still time to look something else up.”

    Democracy, genuine; disobedience, civil.

  • Rebecca Gardner

    Since I was a little kid I was utterly fascinated my Nazi Germany. Part of it was because my Mom’s side is from Waldheim, part of it was because I’m a huge history buff, but the biggest reason was I was utterly fascinated by how someone like Hitler and the Nazi Party could rise to power. I was young, naive, and could not understand how such a thing could happen. So I read, I read, and I read, and I read, and I read. I even joined a Military Bookclub to get good deals on books like Mein Kampf, and The Black Angles: The Story of the Waffen SS.

    I then understood how it happened and felt so secure with my knowledge that it could not happen here because we had no Friedensvertrag von Versailles plunging our economy into doom. We are the greatest military force the world has ever seen in all of history. A Nazi type of party could never happen here.

    Then 2008 happened and I had my Uh Oh moment.

    It wasn’t about losing a war.
    It wasn’t about a Friedensvertrag von Versailles.
    It was about money and the masses feeling left out, betrayed, intentionally shit upon by the 1%.

    That is how we got Trump.
    This is how we will get Fascism.
    This is how a Republic dies. To thunderous applause (Stolen from Star Wars but so apropos).

    • sherman

      “my Nazi Germany”??

      Kind of Freudian there. 🙂

      • Lumpy Gaga

        Clippy, no!

        • DRoseDARs

          I did Nazi that coming…

      • Rebecca Gardner

        LOL! Was supposed to be “by Nazi Germany.”

        Very weird typo indeed. I’ll go edit it now.

      • MonochromeMouse

        Sounds like the title to the most insane episode of Scrubs ever.

    • NancyP

      Yes. Americans who talk big about being patriotic are always the biggest traitors.

    • Ian

      Also recommend, “Rise and Fall of the Third Reich”.

  • Brian in Valdosta

    What’s the problem? It’s a perfectly cromulent word.

  • Natty Enquirer

    M-W could always exercise strong autocratic or dictatorial control and pick their own Word of the Year.

    • Moebym of the Rebel Alliance

      Against the wishes of the people. As per usual.

  • j.martindale
    • j.martindale

      And we are all in the chair.

      • Lumpy Gaga

        “Enjoy your din-din.”

        • Lumpy Gaga

          And if anyone asks “Who IS that?” this time, I’m going to go flying Trumpeter on somebody’s ass.

  • bkmn

    Gee, nobody could have seen this coming.

    • safari

      Certainly not donald’s voters. History is elitist. So are words.

    • JCF

      I did nazi it…

  • safari

    They’re making me want to set my browser to search for that every time I open a new tab.

    • Lumpy Gaga

      Word of the Year is within our reach. I think M-W secretly wants to make it happen.

      • safari

        Can’t be open about such things when you know who is about.

  • Ninja0980

    Only fair more people know what it is since we will soon be living in it.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    Kinda like looking up “What is the EU?” after Brexit, so there’s that…

  • safari

    The Benjamin-Moore paint color of 2017 is called Shadow. Pantone predicts it’ll be a kale spring.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    I went to m-w and got offered ‘hot mess’

    • boatboy_srq

      That is ALSO a solid term for 2016.

  • Lumpy Gaga

    “We’re number 1!! We’re number 1!!”

    — “fascism”

  • Mike__in_Houston

    This is what we will all be singing in a few months, so y’all had better start brushing up your Italian:

    • Robincho

      Giovanezza! Giovanezza!
      Primavera di Bellezza!

      And every day there should run the photo of Mussolini hanged upside down in the square. Ogni. Fuckin’. Giorno…

  • ericxdc

    For anyone’s edification, flumadiddle means something foolish or worthless, nonsense, trash.

    Still, fascism unfortunately seems more apropos in this year of the Flumdiddlle Fascist.

    • ColdCountry

      Um, Wikipedia has it this way:
      Flummadiddle is a baked main course pudding consisting of stale bread, pork fat, molasses, and spices including cinnamon, allspice, and cloves. It was a part of early American cuisine, especially of New England fishermen.

      • thatotherjean

        Oh, it’s bread pudding with lard instead of butter and molasses in place of the sugar. Probably tastes pretty good, if you go easy on the allspice and cloves. Might be nice for a Christmas brunch.
        /historical food geek

        • ColdCountry

          Everyone shudders at “lard” but it makes the best pie crusts, and other things.

          A historical food geek? Love it! This crowd has the most diversity of interests and expertise than almost any other. In fact, the only other crowd I know of that is this diverse is Harry Potter fan fiction writers, though I suppose other fan fic writers may be as eclectic as well.

      • Jerry

        I looked that up on Wikipedia and also thought it was describing Trump.

        • ColdCountry

          While it may not sound that great, I’m sure this is far tastier.

  • TimCA

    Does anyone disagree in part with the Merriam Webster Dictionary’s definition? Most definitions I’ve ever seen include phraseology also indicating that fascism (at least historically anyway ) is a right-wing and populist political movement.

    From Merriam Webster:

    1 often capitalized : a political philosophy, movement, or regime (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

    • BobSF_94117

      They seem to have altered it so people could claim the Soviets were fascist…

      • boatboy_srq

        We’re talking about a population segment that needed to create Conservapedia because the conventional reference material was too LiebrulSoshulist. “Altered” is understating it a bit.

  • Marc

    I’d rather more people look it up and be cognizant of what might be coming. What’s worse: Word of the year or a decades worth of reality? Stop hiding your heads in the sand.

    • Snarkaholic

      “…almost the whole world is asleep. Everybody you know. Everybody you see. Everybody you talk to. He says that only a few people are awake and they live in a state of constant total amazement.” (Joe vs. The Volcano)

      • YakHerder

        “A brain cloud. There’s a black fog of tissue running right down the center of your brain.” (Joe vs. The Volcano)

  • Mike

    Keep looking up fascism on Merriam-Webster. Make sure it’s their word of the year. It is the perfect word to represent 2016. To hell with M-W for trying to influence what people look up, to make a non-Trumpy word their word of the year instead.

  • jsmukg

    Looking up ‘fascism’ on Merriam-Webster constantly. Please do the same. To coin a phrase, shove it down their throats.

  • First “xenophobia”, and now “fascism”.
    Ain’t Trumpatania a wonnerful place? Ainit?

    • Beagle

      Yes, it ain’t.

    • CharlestonDave

      Don’t forget “kakistocracy”

      • JCF

        And “kleptocracy”.

  • fuzzybits

    All those Trump supporters had to look it up.

  • Slippy_World
    • Dreaming Vertebrate

      Lol ! Perfect!!

    • JCF

      We’re All There With You, Ripley.

  • Mikey

    I guess I’ll be forgetting the definition of “fascism” a LOT over the next few weeks.. thank god for the Merriam-Webster online dictionary!

    • KnownDonorDad

      Same. It’s a nuanced term, you know? I have to set a script to look it up repeatedly just to be sure.

  • Canadian Observer

    Will it work for “santorum” too? Or is that just a google thing?

    • Mikey

      the word has to be in the dictionary to start with. since “santorum” is a family name it wouldn’t be in the M-W.

      • Canadian Observer

        Well I guess that is one of the reasons why I tend to go to the urbandictionary more often than Merriam-Webster (that and the simplified American spellings…)

  • ChrisInKansas

    There’s always “orangutan”.

    • YakHerder

      From the Malay orang (“man”) and hutan (“forest”).

      • ChrisInKansas

        Man forest….I like it. 😈

        • YakHerder

          Hehehe, that is an interpretation I had not heard of before 🙂

  • YakHerder

    “Kleptocracy” — “government by those who seek chiefly status and personal gain at the expense of the governed.”

    • Robincho

      Behold the kakistocratic kleptocrats…

  • KnownDonorDad

    This is reverse psychology, right? They must know the interwebs will toss them in the briar patch.

  • Joseph Miceli

    Nope. America can own it and all the shame that comes with it.

  • sorry to endanger the Endless Sunshine of your unclouded minds, MW people, but you chose this ‘methodology’ and now you’ve got to live with it. it’s like an online poll; you can never be sure if it will twitter-explode on your ass and bring in a zillion flying monkeys (of any kind) who will overwhelm your loyal regular readers on a one-off topic and the poll(s) that goes with it.

    i wouldn’t call this pitiful, exactly, but it tells me a lot about the culture at MW. live by the internet, die by the internet. regular users of this technology accept that as a working reality, that no former social standing on some other hierarchy can make untrue. and a word of advice: the younger generation does not care who the M and W stand for.

    there are about 10K language information sites out there, most of them free and some really easy to use. i love my old, well used hard back OED, but the truth is i don’t pull it out very often anymore. it’s heavy! and i’m lazy. unless i’m putting some sort of academic credentials on the line, which is rarely now and fewer people every day care about anyway, i just use a search engine and/or autocorrect and that sort of thing. if i really want a deeper understanding of a word, i’ll turn to more professional sources. but again, how often does it really matter that you know *all* 17 variations and definitions of a given word? most of the time, all people want to know is “is it spelled with one or two Os?” and the like.

    it’s just the hard truth of how languages have evolved in this new era of technology. a genie that will never go back into the library, as it were.

  • Tom G

    So be it! Now we can explain why it’s the word of 2016.

  • Dreaming Vertebrate

    I just looked it up on Merriam Webster. My bad – – – again.

    • djcoastermark

      Just did my duty also. I might have to check back to see if I got the meaning correct.

  • DRoseDARs

    Did my due diligence, looked up Fascism.

  • Veylon

    While I don’t believe Trump is a Fascist (when has he ever shown a commitment to anything?), Fascism is certainly an appropriate word to be looking up. I’d much rather see Trump spending the next four years on the defensive and having to clean up his act than being allowed carte blanche to do as he pleases. He may not have the totalitarian zeal of a Mussolini, but he’s surely as bad as a Berlusconi and that’s plenty bad enough.

    • KarenAtFOH

      Trump is well on his way to meeting this definition (had to go look it up to make sure).

  • MBear

    Because murrikkkans didnt understand the word. Nope. It should be the word of the year & a reminder that some cuntries are dangerous.

  • JohnnyToro

    Hmmm, I’m not familiar with that word. Going to go to MW to look it up . . .

  • Rt1583

    Could they have provided a better cue for the Streisand effect?

    • Beagle

      Or maybe that was the plan?

  • Well I studied politics and history but this story made me do one thing.

  • OdieDenCO

    one could hope that this tweet is a covert call to the EC to not vote in the Fascist.

  • joe ho

    we should all look it up a few times a day until the end of the year.

  • Looking up “fascism” at Merriam-Webster’s site now. Here’s a handy direct link for you to do the same:

    • jutta

      I looked up Santorum at Merriam-Webster’s 😉

  • KCMC
  • wmforr

    Here is the simple definition:
    fascism The act of being President of the United States and being Black simultaneously.

  • TomLoner

    The moral of this story is that liberals know nothing and have to look up what their social media programming tells them. Its easy to see why liberals are so bigoted and hate filled when they have a hive mind mentality.

  • JCF

    It’s “Google Santorum” 2016: