Definition of McCarthyism in US English:



  • 1A vociferous campaign against alleged communists in the US government and other institutions carried out under Senator Joseph McCarthy in the period 1950–54. Many of the accused were blacklisted or lost their jobs, although most did not in fact belong to the Communist Party.

    • ‘A type of modern McCarthyism, this sort of intimidation can only serve to stifle further an informed public debate on climate change, and it is a deplorable action for an Attorney General to take.’
    • ‘A few of the people caught up in McCarthyism were actual Russian spies.’
    • ‘They've had intellectual terror on the campus for years… It's time for a new McCarthyism.’
    • ‘The films made prior to, during, and after the McCarthy era reflect the complicated connection between McCarthyism and Hollywood.’
    • ‘In the school's library I found a remnant of McCarthyism stamped inside the cover of a book.’
    • ‘Computergate was a chilling welcome to a new McCarthyism, a McCarthyism not run by a centralized political authority, but enabled by a specific way of understanding and treating computer technology.’
    • ‘The essence of the tactic of McCarthyism is to de-legitimize one's opponent so as to avoid addressing the substance of his argument.’
    • ‘The effect of McCarthyism on people in government and in the entertainment industry has been widely publicized.’
    • ‘During the decade we now associate with ‘McCarthyism,’ fear ran rampant in our national politics.’
    • ‘During the 1950 campaign, fallout from McCarthyism and strident anti-Communism began to take its toll on Utah's Democratic candidates.’
    1. 1.1 A campaign or practice that endorses the use of unfair allegations and investigations.
      ‘he practiced McCarthyism long before there was a McCarthy’
      • ‘Presumably, Bush's argument for war brings about a McCarthyism which threatens everything we hold dear.’