svengali

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English[edit]

Alternative forms[edit]

Etymology[edit]

Named from the hypnotist character in George du Maurier's novel Trilby, more in citations.

Pronunciation[edit]

Noun[edit]

svengali ‎(plural svengalis)

  1. One who manipulates or controls another as by some mesmeric or sinister influence; especially a coach, mentor or industry mogul.
    • 2005 October 15, in the Hamilton Spectator:
      She also offers a fascinating glimpse into a more innocent age before svengalis began colluding with marketing men and TV execs to promote talentless wannabes to overnight success.
    • 2016 February 2016, in Hugh Hewitt's "Six reasons Trump is still better than Clinton" in the Washington Examiner:
      Donald's daughter and Svengali Ivanka is a smart, smart, smart lady with an extraordinary intellect and influence on her father.
    • 2016 November 18, Jamelle Bouie, “Government by the Worst Men”, in Slate[1]:
      We have Stephen Bannon, the former head of Breitbart known for his open ties to white supremacists, anti-Semites, and foreign reactionaries in France and Russia. Bannon is a Svengali of sorts for the ugliest forces in American and international politics, a man who believes the Western world is in a fundamental struggle with Islam and who sees multiculturalism and liberal openness as a threat to the future of the West.

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