to demagogue him/them

M Covarrubias mcovarru at PURDUE.EDU
Tue Sep 15 09:05:39 UTC 2009

in an interview with herman cain: at least three times he used 'to
demagogue X' as a verb meaning "to present X as a demagogue."
specifically claiming that the 'mainstream' media has been trying "to
demagogue" fox news, joe wilson and other 'fair' voices.

OED and MW list the 2 senses of demagogue (v.) : act like a demagogue
(intr) and treat an issue as a demagogue would (trans). but no listing
of this use.

i suppose demagoguize and demogoguify don't trip too easily off the
tongue. and anyway, OED lists the former meaning the same as the
intransitive sense above.

relevant examples aren't too hard to find:

"Conservatives have allowed opponents like [Anthony] Lewis free rein
to demagogue them, and Lewis seldom missed an opportunity."

"Corzine is a good guy, but it's been easy for Republicans to
demagogue him with the mess he has inherited..."

The American Dialect Society -

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