Definitions

from The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, 4th Edition

  • n. A leader who obtains power by means of impassioned appeals to the emotions and prejudices of the populace.
  • n. A leader of the common people in ancient times.
  • transitive v. Usage Problem To speak about (an issue, for example) in the manner of a demagogue.

from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A leader of the people.
  • n. An orator or leader who gains favor by pandering to or exciting the passions and prejudices of the audience.
  • v. To speak or act in the manner of a demagogue; to speak about (an issue) in the manner of a demagogue.

from the GNU version of the Collaborative International Dictionary of English

  • n. A leader of the rabble; one who attempts to control the multitude by specious or deceitful arts; an unprincipled and factious mob orator or political leader.

from The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia

  • n. Historically, a leader of the people; a person who sways the people by oratory or persuasion.
  • n. An unprincipled popular orator or leader; one who endeavors to curry favor with the people or some particular portion of them by pandering to their prejudices or wishes, or by playing on their ignorance or passions; specifically, an unprincipled political agitator; one who seeks to obtain political power or the furtherance of some sinister purpose by pandering to the ignorance or prejudice of the populace.

from WordNet 3.0 Copyright 2006 by Princeton University. All rights reserved.

  • n. a political leader who seeks support by appealing to popular passions and prejudices

Etymologies

Greek dēmagōgos, popular leader : dēmos, people; see dā- in Indo-European roots + agōgos, leading (from agein, to lead; see ag- in Indo-European roots).
(American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Fourth Edition)
From Ancient Greek δημαγωγός (demagogos, "popular leader, mob leader"), from δῆμος (demos, "people") + ἀγωγός (agogos, "guide"). (Wiktionary)

Examples

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  • Life of the Party.

    February 14, 2010