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Definition: Unscrupulously accusing people of disloyalty; use of unfair investigatory or accusatory methods in order to suppress opposition.

Pronunciation: muh-KAHR-thee-iz-uhm


The term McCarthyism came into use with the actions of Senator Joseph McCarthy of Wisconsin. He was a relentless campaigner against the communists in America. First seen in a cartoon published in the Washington Post made by Washington post’s editorial cartoonist Herbert Block, the cartoonist depicted four leading Republicans trying to push an elephant (the traditional symbol of the Republican Party) to stand on a teetering stack of ten tar buckets, the topmost of which was labeled “McCarthyism”.

Why this word?

McCarthyism is pretty commonplace in political realm. McCarthyism is usually practiced to deceive the hoi-polloi by etching a negative image of adversaries in people’s mind, which eventually helps in extracting votes out of the gullible people. Since Politicians are familiar with this act, they don’t give much heed to it, but McCarthyism, when practiced on an innocent person, usually leaves a huge effect on the psychological aspect of life. Innocuous people have to go through the trauma of calumny, relationships are destroyed because one could never know who to trust or who would turn you in. There are just so many ways for a person to get shattered by the impact of McCarthyism.

How to use the word McCarthyism in sentence?

Although everyone believes that the battle against terrorists has to be waged, few want to see a new wave of McCarthyism wash over the country.

It is no easier to measure the impact of McCarthyism on culture than on politics, although emblems of the terror were ever on display.


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Written by Akshay Dashore

Akshay is a Civil engineer who, for his love of words, preferred words over engineering. He is an avid reader and a prolific writer.


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