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See also: Fascism


Alternative forms


1922, from Italian fascismo (from fascio (group, association; bundle, fasces), from Latin fasces ultimately with reference to the fasces or bundles of axes and rods carried before the magistrates of ancient Rome in token of their power of life and death). Originally only applied (usually capitalized) to Benito Mussolini's Italy which used a representation of the ancient fasces as its emblem.


  • enPR: făsh'ĭz(ə)m, IPA(key): /ˈfæʃɪz(ə)m/
  • (file)


fascism (usually uncountable, plural fascisms)

  1. Any right-wing, authoritarian, nationalist ideology characterized by centralized, totalitarian governance, strong regimentation of the economy and of society, and repression of criticism or opposition.
    • 1922 December 1, The American Photo-engraver, volume 15, page 324:
      Today "Fascism" like Russian "Bolshevism" does not know what freedom means and cares less about the principles of liberty and the rights of man. It knows only one law and that is the will of Mussolini and his band of "Black Shirts."
    • 1941, George Orwell, “Shopkeepers At War”, in Orwell, Sonia and Angus, Ian, editor, The Collected Essays, Journalism and Letters of George Orwell Volume 2: My Country Right or Left (1940-1943):
      Fascism, at any rate the German version, is a form of capitalism that borrows from Socialism just such features as will make it efficient for war purposes.
    • 1978, Walter Laqueur, Fascism: A Reader's Guide : Analyses, Interpretations, Bibliography:
      Despite the three decades that have passed since the end of the second world war, fascism remains a subject of much heated argument. [] It also continues to be a subject of controversy, partly because it collides with so many preconceived ideological notions, partly because generalizations are made difficult by the fact that there was not one fascism but several fascisms.
    • 2009, Federico Finchelstein, Transatlantic Fascism: Ideology, Violence, and the Sacred in Argentina and Italy, 1919-1945:
      For Argentine fascists and nacionalistas, fascism was not a theory but a mold for Catholic thinking. For instance, one of the most significant nacionalista intellectuals, César Pico, argued that fascism was a "reaction against the calamities ascribed to liberal democracy, socialism, and capitalism. It's a reaction that, although instinctive in its origins, is searching for a doctrine that could justify it."
  2. (by extension) Any system of strong autocracy or oligarchy usually to the extent of bending and breaking the law, race-baiting, and/or violence against largely unarmed populations.
    Hyponyms: alt-right, Falangism, Kahanism, Nazism


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Further reading