Fascism: Definition, Meaning, and Examples

Last Updated on
September 28, 2023

1. Fascism (noun): A political ideology that seeks to combine radical and authoritarian nationalism with a centralized autocratic government, often led by a dictatorial leader, and emphasizes loyalty to the state, the suppression of opposition, and often racism.
2. Fascism (noun): A tendency toward or actual exercise of strong autocratic or dictatorial control in various sectors, not necessarily tied to the formal political definition.

The term "fascism" has been crucial in understanding various totalitarian movements in the 20th century, particularly in Europe. Understanding its origins, characteristics, and impacts is vital for any history or political science student.

"Fascism" Definition: What Does "Fascism" Mean?

The term "fascism" derives from the Italian word "fascio," meaning "bundle" or "group," and originally referred to political groups in Italy. It refers to today's extremely authoritarian, intolerant, or oppressive ideas or behavior. It can also mean very intolerant or domineering views or practices in a particular area.

  • Italian Fascism: Founded by Benito Mussolini, it emphasized the dominance of the state, loyalty to a singular leader, and sought a rebirth of the nation.
  • Nazi Fascism: A variant practiced in Germany under Adolf Hitler, marked by extreme racism, particularly anti-Semitism, in addition to other common fascist principles.

Parts of Speech

"Fascism" primarily functions as a noun, identifying a particular political ideology or the systems and movements associated with it.

How to Pronounce "Fascism"?

The pronunciation of "fascism" can vary slightly based on regional accents but is generally consistent across English dialects.

Phonetic Pronunciation: ˈfæʃɪzəm (Stress on 'fæʃ')

Synonyms of "Fascism": Other Ways to Say "Fascism"

While "fascism" has unique historical and political contexts, some terms convey similar notions of authoritarianism and totalitarianism.

  • Totalitarianism
  • Authoritarianism
  • Despotism

Antonyms of "Fascism": Other Ways to Say "Fascism"

Given that "fascism" signifies extreme centralized control, its opposites would denote greater freedom and democracy.

  • Democracy
  • Liberalism
  • Anarchy

Examples of "Fascism" in a Sentence

The use of "fascism" in a sentence revolves around its political and historical contexts.

Here are ten sentences that demonstrate its various uses:

1. The rise of fascism in the 1930s changed the political landscape of Europe.
2. At the outset of the 20th century, few could predict the profound impact that fascism would have on global politics and society.
3. One of the hallmarks of fascism is the suppression of dissent and free expression.
4. I read about fascism in a historical journal, shedding light on its origins and implications.
5. Some argue that there are similarities between modern authoritarian regimes and traditional fascism.
6. Anti-fascism movements played a crucial role in resisting dictatorial regimes.
7. The iconography of fascism often involves powerful symbols meant to evoke national pride and unity.
8. When studying political ideologies, it's essential to delve deep; you might say, "pick your poison," but understanding fascism is crucial for grasping modern history.
9. Historians often call attention to the socioeconomic factors that contributed to the rise of fascism in the early 20th century.
10. Fascism often thrives in environments where there's a combination of economic downturns and nationalistic fervor.

Frequency of Use

The term "fascism" originated in the early 20th century, with its frequency peaking during events like World War II due to its association with regimes such as Nazi Germany and Fascist Italy. While consistently discussed in academic circles, its use in general media has fluctuated, often spiking during political upheavals or discussions on authoritarianism. The rise of the internet and social media has seen a resurgence in the term's application, particularly with growing concerns about far-right movements and nationalist ideologies. However, its usage varies widely based on platform, region, and specific context.

Variants of "Fascism"

"Fascism," while a specific term, can be seen in conjunction with other terms to describe various movements or tendencies associated with its core principles.

1. Neo-fascism: Refers to fascist movements and parties that arose after World War II.
2. Fascist: Adjective form or noun to describe someone adhering to fascist principles.
3. Fascistic: Adjective form denoting characteristics reminiscent of fascism.

Related Terms to "Fascism"

Several terms are related to "fascism," each with its specific meaning and context. These terms often revolve around politics and governance and are sometimes used interchangeably, albeit incorrectly.

1. Totalitarianism
2. Authoritarianism
3. Nationalism
4. Dictatorship
5. Nazism
6. Militarism
7. Chauvinism
8. Oligarchy

Etymology: History and Origins of "Fascism"

The term "fascism" has its roots in the Italian word fascio, which translates to "bundle" or "group." Historically, it represents a group of rods bound together, often symbolizing strength in unity. The term became associated with the political ideology due to Mussolini's Italian Fascist party in the early 20th century, emphasizing a united front and centralized power.

Derivatives and Compounds of "Fascism"

"Fascism" has influenced the creation of several derivative terms that expand upon or juxtapose its concepts. These terms often draw from the core tenets of fascist ideology.

1. Fascistic: Adjective form referring to the qualities or attributes resembling fascism.
2. Fascist: A person who supports or adheres to fascism or its practices.

Common Misspellings of "Fascism"

Given its foreign origins and particular phonetics, the term "fascism" is often misspelled.

Here are some common misspellings and incorrect forms of "fascism":

1. Facism
2. Fashism
3. Fascisim
4. Fasism

10 Idioms Similar to "Fascism"

While "fascism" itself may not be ubiquitous in idiomatic language, there are expressions that touch upon themes central to it. These phrases often revolve around control, oppression, and strict governance.

1. Iron grip
2. Rally around the flag
3. A wolf in sheep's clothing
4. March in lockstep
5. Show one's true colors
6. Tighten the screws
7. Pull the strings
8. Under one's thumb
9. Toe the line
10. Wear the jackboot

10 Common Questions About "Fascism"

"Fascism" remains a topic of keen interest and debate. Delving into its multifaceted nature reveals a richer understanding of its historical and contemporary significance.

1. What are the core tenets of fascism?

Fascism emphasizes a strong centralized government, often led by a dictatorial figure, with an emphasis on nationalism and often a disdain for liberal democracy and left-wing ideologies.

2. How did fascism rise in Europe?

Fascism rose in Europe in response to political instability, economic crises, and perceived threats from left-wing ideologies post-World War I, particularly in Italy and Germany.

3. Is fascism synonymous with racism?

While not all fascist movements are inherently racist, racism, particularly in the form of Nazi Germany's anti-Semitism, became a significant component of certain fascist ideologies.

4. How does fascism differ from communism?

While both may advocate for a strong centralized government, fascism tends to promote nationalism and often racial purity, while communism seeks a classless, stateless society based on common ownership.

5. Why did certain societies support fascist leaders?

Societies gravitated towards fascist leaders due to economic hardships, fear of other political ideologies, nationalistic fervor, and the desire for order and stability.

6. How did World War II impact the global perception of fascism?

The atrocities committed by fascist regimes during WWII, especially the Holocaust, deeply tarnished the perception of fascism, making it widely discredited and condemned post-war.

7. Are there contemporary examples of fascism?

While classic fascism remains rare, certain regimes and movements today exhibit fascist-like tendencies, merging nationalism with authoritarianism.

8. How does fascism affect individual freedoms?

Fascism often suppresses individual freedoms in favor of the collective or national good, leading to censorship, persecution, and lack of political diversity.

9. Can fascism coexist with democracy?

Fascism, by its nature, opposes many democratic principles, especially pluralism and political freedoms. While fascistic parties might participate in democratic processes, their ascent often threatens democratic institutions.

10. What counterforces or movements opposed fascism historically?

Historically, various forces, including liberal democrats, communists, and even conservative factions, opposed fascism. Anti-fascist movements and resistance groups were particularly active during WWII.


"Fascism," a complex and often misunderstood term, has left an indelible mark on the 20th century. While its influence has waned, understanding its roots, nuances, and impact remains crucial in the continued defense of democratic values and human rights. For additional word definitions, browse our comprehensive section to enhance your vocabulary.

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