Definition of populist in English:

populist

noun

  • 1A member or adherent of a political party seeking to represent the interests of ordinary people.

    • ‘At first, this was interpreted as just one of many threats made by the right-wing populist to intimidate his internal party adversaries.’
    • ‘Despite political protests from anti-American populists in Manila, the potent tool of U.S. airpower may well be applied.’
    • ‘The backlash against the theory of evolution resonated not only with religious fundamentalists, but also with political and economic populists.’
    • ‘In Manning's opinion, Harper is not a populist in the democratic reform tradition.’
    • ‘The populists and anarchists simply have no theory of the unpredictable ups and downs of capitalist growth which bolster and erode bourgeois domination of society.’
    • ‘Moreover, he was something new in this state with an historic taste for populism - a centrist populist.’
    • ‘The party defined the new Turkey as nationalist, republican, populist, secular, statist, and revolutionary.’
    • ‘I think that this party has a big future, because no other party, apart from the populist and far-right parties, can be present in the difficult areas and housing estates.’
    • ‘I was interested in this notion of Grisham the Populist, based on reading the book reviews and seeing several Grisham flicks.’
    • ‘The fact is that our Parliament is peopled largely by populists whose interest lies, so they say, in representing their voters.’
    • ‘Like other populists, Chavez disdains any party institutionalization that might constrain his personal autonomy.’
    • ‘And the only parties fighting on specifically European issues are the the UK Independence party and other populists desperate to leave the union.’
    • ‘There was a time when the Democratic party was populist / progressive - William Jennings Bryan was our guy.’
    • ‘Its members ranged from patricians to populists, from Main Street Republicans to prairie socialists.’
    • ‘The White Australia policy was particularly championed by the ALP, the emerging trade union aristocracy and a whole host of petty bourgeois populists.’
    • ‘Toledo's main rival in the elections was former president Alan García of the populist APRA party.’
    • ‘In common with other right-wing European populists, Havel's campaign is nothing other than a cover for the dismantling of democratic rights and the establishment of an authoritarian regime faithful to the president.’
    • ‘This view, albeit hostile, highlights the essence of the phenomenon that evolved through the parallel activities of anarchists, populists, and syndicalists, as well as nihilists in Lenin's youth.’
    • ‘The conversion of Bustamante from a conservative Democrat to a populist has been rather sudden.’
    • ‘Zizek maintains that today the new rightist populists are the only political force which attempts to address the people with anti-capitalist rhetoric to mobilize the working class.’
    1. 1.1 A person who holds, or who is concerned with, the views of ordinary people.
      • ‘The conservatives support Koizumi's diplomatic negotiation, while the populists criticize him.’
      • ‘The meat-packing industry did not enjoy a positive image in the minds of the Canadian public, viewed by many populists as part of a much larger ‘big-business’ monopoly.’
      • ‘Finally, and unforgivably in the view of my neighbours, our anti-liberal populists can't even get Islington right.’
      • ‘His supporters say the left-leaning populist is a visionary, but his detractors call him a dangerous lunatic.’
      • ‘He is viewed as an economic populist and a social conservative.’
      • ‘Instead he is becoming a Shi'ite populist whose appeal will be enhanced by American accusations of treachery.’
      • ‘But beyond anger, the defining characteristic of cultural populists is that they view themselves as victims of murky forces operating behind the scenes.’
      • ‘Yet these same white populists supported legislation that denied a minimum wage or labor protection to agricultural and domestic workers (mainly people of color) as part of the New Deal.’
    2. 1.2Populist A member of the Populist Party, a US political party formed in 1891 that advocated the interests of labor and farmers, free coinage of silver, a graduated income tax, and government control of monopolies.
      • ‘In 1900 heirs of the Populists set up an Agrarian Socialist League in Paris.’
      • ‘Religious critics lacked fervor and moral authority, while surviving Populist and Progressive skeptics were dismissed as killjoys or cranks.’
      • ‘Gaining the support of millions of Americans in the nation's western and Southern states, the Populists offered a powerful agrarian challenge to the nation's two-party system.’
      • ‘This was especially true for Populists - men such as Tom Watson and William Jennings Bryan.’
      • ‘But after the Democrats adopted free coinage of silver and ran William J. Bryan for president in 1896, and agrarian attack had declined, more or less as the result of rising farm prices, the Populist party dissolved.’
      • ‘One exception is Jerry Simpson, a Populist party representative who served three terms in Congress.’
      • ‘The Chicago Tribune, for instance, noted that the ‘veterans recognize the danger arising from the conspiracy of the Populists, Popocrats, and free silver Republican bolters against the credit of the Nation.’’
      • ‘It brought Progressives and Populists together under the same banner, along with poor Southern whites and poorer Southern blacks.’
      • ‘These comprised successively the Whig, Know-Nothing, Populist, and Republican parties in the city.’
      • ‘In 1890, for instance, the People's Party (the Populists ' official name) won 52 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and three in the U.S. Senate.’
      • ‘This is a very entertaining and well-written look at what was going on in the 1890s from the Panic of 1893 and J.P. Morgan to William Jennings Bryan and the Populists to the Spanish-American War.’
      • ‘One of the few concessions Kazin made was his approval of Zinn punctuating ‘his narrative with hundreds of quotes from slaves and Populists, anonymous wage-earners and articulate radicals.’’
      • ‘Only three Kansas senators have been Democrats and two were Populists.’
      • ‘Bryan ran for president on both the Democratic and Populist tickets.’
      • ‘That may explain why it's unpopular to be a registered Populist, at least in Westmoreland County.’
      • ‘It was the Populists who made a start in developing the political consciousness of ordinary people.’
      • ‘The South and West of drought and depression will always be Populist and vote for William J Bryan and Franklin Roosevelt.’
      • ‘In fact, most Populists cheered Bryan and voted for him because he shared their enemies and their vision of a producers' republic.’

adjective

  • Relating to a populist or populists.

    ‘a populist leader’
    • ‘I would grant the relative singularity of American institutions but then see this lack as an element of populist democracy rejected by others in the name of good government.’
    • ‘European social democracy cannot allow populist discontent to become a monopoly of the right.’
    • ‘Well, I say a bit of reductionism is a good thing - it stops the waters being muddied so much by name-calling and populist propaganda.’
    • ‘A nation divided by populist rhetoric will weaken and fail.’
    • ‘He was imprisoned in 1915, but in 1918 the powerful, populist leader was released in the hope that he might be able to contain growing army unrest.’
    • ‘But to undercut Edwards' populist image, the Republicans suggest that Edwards should have done just that.’
    • ‘Arrayed against them are postmodernists and leftists as well as populist nationalists who have revived Maoist ideas about people power.’
    • ‘It seemed to many that the revered Constitution was really the bulwark of powerful economic interests and, therefore, the enemy of more egalitarian and populist policies.’
    • ‘How is the defeat of neo-liberal policies by populist leaders adopting leftist slogans to be explained?’
    • ‘The CSU has consistently worked inside the Union for the integration of nationalist and right-wing populist forces.’
    • ‘It's unlikely that the IHA seeks to return the Emperor to the position that he once held but it's equally unlikely that it favours a democratic, populist approach to the monarchy.’
    • ‘He sounds much more populist than most Democrats do.’
    • ‘He warns that it is not enough to spread democracy: it must be a liberal democracy that mitigates the negative effects of reckless populist democracy.’
    • ‘It also serves to mobilise despairing layers of society for a right-wing programme and garner support for the government with populist demagogy.’
    • ‘We often underestimate the weight that our voice carries among military and populist leaders alike.’
    • ‘In fact, it is being shut down by populist Labour councillors who have whipped up fear among the local residents.’
    • ‘But Schröder sees only the work of populist demagogues.’
    • ‘Its election manifesto is replete with populist rhetoric opposing privatisation and defending the public sector.’
    • ‘Today he continued to strike the defiant, populist tone that characterized his campaign.’
    • ‘At the same time, the Union parties and the SPD are preparing to divert popular anger over government policy by means of right-wing populist campaigns.’
    elected, representative, parliamentary, popular, of the people
    View synonyms

Origin

Late 19th century (originally referring to a US political party): from Latin populus ‘people’ + -ist.

Pronunciation

populist

/ˈpɑpjələst//ˈpäpyələst/