Definition of bread and circuses in English:

bread and circuses


  • Entertainment or political policies used to keep the mass of people happy and docile.

    ‘with football and politics as the bread and circuses of our decadent empire, whither religion?’
    • ‘We're surrounded by show, just as the Roman Empire turned to bread and circuses to hide other things that were taking place.’
    • ‘To suggest that Roman numerals are not appropriate to enumerate the Super Bowl is to fail to understand the significance of bread and circuses in ancient Rome and their connection to the legendary circuses during Super Bowl week.’
    • ‘The modern version of globalization, by contrast, is run more along Roman lines, in which the provinces are milked to pay for the bread and circuses of the imperial heartland.’
    • ‘All the citizen sheep require is a shepherd to provide bread and circuses and to whisper electronic promises of security into their ears at night.’
    • ‘It's said that the mainstream media is increasingly dominated by corporate interests, political spin, and bread and circuses postmodern pap.’
    • ‘I am reminded of Juvenal's weary dictum about bread and circuses, which in rough translation said the Roman citizen thought of little else but feeding his face and watching sport.’
    • ‘Office-holders spend much of their time supplying bread and circuses.’
    • ‘And this kind of mass entertainment destroyed the morality of the Roman people, who no longer worked for a living; they lived on bread and circuses, on entertainment and the dole.’
    • ‘Then we would dump it in favor of bread and circuses.’
    • ‘And maybe near-by, someone will hear something a little less shrill than the sound of 100,000,000 people clamoring for more bread and circuses.’
    • ‘Call me economically irrational, call me sentimental, call me a sucker for bread and circuses, but I must admit I got a buzz over seeing the first train arrive in Darwin at the weekend.’
    • ‘It would seem that little has changed since the first-century Roman satirist Juvenal famously wrote that all that the modern citizen craved was bread and circuses.’
    • ‘A couple of millennia ago, Roman satirist Juvenal said that there were only two things that a citizen anxiously wished for - bread and circuses.’
    • ‘It also feeds nationalist hunger among the populace, making them proud of the achievements of their country even while they realize that they live under an authoritarian and corrupt government - bread and circuses for the masses.’
    • ‘All the rest is a soap opera dreamed up by politicians and their lickspittles in the London media, just as mad Roman emperors gave their citizens bread and circuses to keep them from revolting.’
    • ‘My suspicion is that it all went wrong after ordinary citizens tired of bread and circuses and moved on to musicals.’
    • ‘Outside its locked doors, amid atmospheric squalor, the huddling masses distract themselves with bread and circuses, while one man agitates for revolution.’
    • ‘And in the time-honoured political tradition of ensuring the plebeians are provided with both bread and circuses, there is a mysterious allocation for a ‘national indoor sports facility’, location unknown.’
    • ‘To use his own analogy, at present the people enjoy both bread and circuses.’
    • ‘Besides bread and circuses, (invented to distract everyone from toppling tyrants in the ‘good old days’), something had to be done to let frisky folks vent a little.’