(sometimes initial capital letter) a governmental system led by a dictator having complete power, forcibly suppressing opposition and criticism, regimenting all industry, commerce, etc., and emphasizing an aggressive nationalism and often racism.
(sometimes initial capital letter) the philosophy, principles, or methods of fascism.
(initial capital letter) a political movement that employs the principles and methods of fascism, especially the one established by Mussolini in Italy 1922–43.
Contemporary Examples

Israel is now a country whose own social-affairs minister warns of “a whiff of fascism” in national politics.
A Jewish Group’s Shameful Smear Michelle Goldberg October 14, 2010

The old order was associated often with fascism, usually unfairly but it was.
Out of the Ruins of the Second World War Lucas Wittmann October 26, 2013

You also ask, if I think the world tendency is towards fascism, why do I support the war.
George Orwell’s Letter on Why He Wrote ‘1984’ George Orwell August 11, 2013

The appeal of Kahanism, like all kinds of racism and fascism, lies in its simplicity and categorical consistency.
My Former Life As a Kahanist Posterboy Zack Parker June 16, 2013

Therefore, Western supporters of the protests, like John Mccain, are agitating on behalf of violent Ukrainian fascism.
Neo-Nazis Pour Into Kiev Michael Moynihan February 27, 2014

Historical Examples

fascism moreover, as a cultural movement, is just now taking its first steps.
Readings on Fascism and National Socialism Various

This is an open principle of fascism, as it is of all dictatorships and “total” states.
Proclaim Liberty! Gilbert Seldes

fascism learns from him not only its doctrines but its action as well.
Readings on Fascism and National Socialism Various

In fascism man is an individual who is the nation and the country.
Readings on Fascism and National Socialism Various

fascism has now attained in the world an universality over all doctrines.
Readings on Fascism and National Socialism Various

noun (sometimes capital)
any ideology or movement inspired by Italian Fascism, such as German National Socialism; any right-wing nationalist ideology or movement with an authoritarian and hierarchical structure that is fundamentally opposed to democracy and liberalism
any ideology, movement, programme, tendency, etc, that may be characterized as right-wing, chauvinist, authoritarian, etc
prejudice in relation to the subject specified: body fascism
the political movement, doctrine, system, or regime of Benito Mussolini in Italy, which encouraged militarism and nationalism, organizing the country along hierarchical authoritarian lines

1922, originally used in English 1920 in its Italian form (see fascist). Applied to similar groups in Germany from 1923; applied to everyone since the rise of the Internet.

A form of political behavior marked by obsessive preoccupation with community decline, humiliation or victimhood and by compensatory cults of unity, energy and purity, in which a mass-based party of committed nationalist militants, working in uneasy but effective collaboration with traditional elites, abandons democratic liberties and pursues with redemptive violence and without ethical or legal restraints goals of internal cleansing and external expansion. [Robert O. Paxton, “The Anatomy of Fascism,” 2004]

fascism [(fash-iz-uhm)]

A system of government that flourished in Europe from the 1920s to the end of World War II. Germany under Adolf Hitler, Italy under Mussolini, and Spain under Franco were all fascist states. As a rule, fascist governments are dominated by a dictator, who usually possesses a magnetic personality, wears a showy uniform, and rallies his followers by mass parades; appeals to strident nationalism; and promotes suspicion or hatred of both foreigners and “impure” people within his own nation, such as the Jews in Germany. Although both communism and fascism are forms of totalitarianism, fascism does not demand state ownership of the means of production, nor is fascism committed to the achievement of economic equality. In theory, communism opposes the identification of government with a single charismatic leader (the “cult of personality”), which is the cornerstone of fascism. Whereas communists are considered left-wing, fascists are usually described as right-wing.

Note: Today, the term fascist is used loosely to refer to military dictatorships, as well as governments or individuals that profess racism and that act in an arbitrary, high-handed manner.

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