Fascist Meaning: Here’s What It Means and How To Use It

After learning the meaning of fascist, you’ll never have to wonder what it means again. This guide has definitions, etymology, examples, and more.

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The usage of some words falls in and out of popularity. In the interim, the actual meaning of the words can get lost along the way. 

Even though we’ve heard a word throughout our lives, it’s important to refresh our knowledge of what that word means before we start trying to use it in our everyday conversations. In recent years, it’s become important to learn more about the word fascist.

What Is the Meaning of Fascist?

According to the dictionary, fascist can be either a noun or an adjective. It’s important to look at all the definitions to understand its meaning in context.

As a noun, fascist can have three meanings. A fascist can either be:

  • A person who believes in or sympathizes with fascism;
  • A person who is a member of a party or movement that is fascist;
  • A person with views that align as dictatorial or extremely right-wing.

As an adjective, fascist is used to describe organizations, systems, political parties, or ideas that relate to or follow the principles or ideology of fascism.

Since the word fascist is someone or something relating to fascism, it’s important to know what fascism means as well. 

According to the dictionary, fascism is a political philosophy or a movement that emphasizes and exalts one’s nation to a status deemed more important than the individual. Often, this philosophy encompasses race as well. 

The principles of fascism place importance on the regimentation of economic and social processes. It is a centralized government that is autocratic and led by a dictatorial head of state.

Under fascist forms of government, opposition to the principles, leader, or political philosophy are often forcibly suppressed. For many, the word has a powerfully negative connotation for this reason. While patriotism is important, this kind of ultranationalism and method of persuasion can be problematic.  

What Is the Origin of the Word Fascist?

The word fascist pertains to fascism. The word fascism comes from the Italian fascismo. Fascismo comes from the Italian fascio. Fascio means “bundle of sticks”. 

Fascio comes from the Latin fasces. Fasces was a bundle of rods with an ax blade that projects out of it. This was carried in Ancient Rome by the lictor to symbolize the power of a magistrate. 

Later, in the 1920s, the fasces was used as a symbol of the Fascist movement in Italy under the leadership of Italian fascist dictator Benito Mussolini.

According to Mussolini, the Fasces of Revolutionary Action was founded in 1915. Four years later, he founded the Fasces of Combat, and by 1921, it became the Partito Nazionale Fascista or the National Fascist Party. For this reason, the symbol was transformed into the word facist, relating to the principles and ideology of this political movement.

What Is the History Behind the Word Fascist?

In Italy, Fascism was embraced by big business leaders and rich landowners who feared political upheaval from sharecroppers and labor unions. 

The violent suppression of their opposition appealed to these former members of the Italian Nationalist Association and the paramilitary Blackshirts. They fought to establish a complete dictatorship under Mussolini.

Mussolini and Hitler

During Mussolini’s rise to power, as the Nazi party leader in Germany, Adolf Hitler took notice of Mussolini’s “march on Rome.” This is where thousands of fascists protested in 1922 and helped make Mussolini Italy’s prime minister. Hitler attempted to emulate his counterpart, and in turn, Mussolini helped financially support the Nazi party as the party rose to power.

Mussolini also allowed Hitler’s men — the SA and SS — to train with his Blackshirts. And, Mussolini viewed Hitler’s rise to power with national socialism eleven years after his own, as a fascist victory of his philosophy. 

In 1937, the world’s first two fascist leaders met to display their friendship, and two years later, the pair signed the Pact of Steel that linked the countries and their fascist goals politically and militarily. Both leaders were anti-Semitic. However, Hitler was much more aggressive in his treatment of Jews. 

Hitler’s Nazi Germany and its collaborators, like fascist-led Italy, were responsible for the Holocaust between 1941 and 1945. The Holocaust was the murder of millions of European Jews during World War II. When Allied Powers fought fascists, they helped to end the genocide and the German occupation of countries in Europe like Poland, France, and Greece. 

Francisco Franco

Italy’s Fascist regime ended when King Victor Emmanuel III forced Mussolini to resign in 1943. The Allied powers defeated Hitler in 1945. 

However, another dictator Mussolini saw as a personal victory was Francisco Franco of Spain. Franco gave himself the title of Caudillo, and he remained in power over Spain with a regime similar to the Fascist government of Italy from 1939 until he died in 1975. 

What Are Synonyms for the Word Fascist?

Synonyms are words that have the same meaning. It is without bias when words have the same meaning. Here are some synonyms for the word fascist:

  • Blackshirt
  • National socialist
  • Nazi
  • Brownshirt
  • Authoritarian
  • Totalitarian
  • Autocrat
  • Tyrant
  • Jingoist

What Are Antonyms for the Word Fascist?

Antonyms are words that have the opposite meaning of a particular word. As with synonyms, this difference is without bias. Here are some antonyms of the word fascist:

  • Democrat
  • Republican
  • Socialist

Examples of Using the Word Fascist

Examples help us learn how to use a word in context within a sentence properly. Here are a few examples of fascist being used in a sentence:

  • My grandfather fought fascists in World War II. 
  • The line between patriotic and fascist principles has been blurred.
  • The party’s leader denied his fascist beliefs despite evidence of fascist practices.
  • Many fought off the stronghold of fascist principles before they could take root in the United States before World War II. 
  • The fascist dictator was portrayed as a beloved leader to the nation’s citizens.

The Last Word

In summary, a fascist is a person who has beliefs and principles that relate to fascism. Fascism emphasizes the importance of a person’s nation over themselves. It can be an infectious movement. The term has only existed for about 100 years, but it’s made quite a name for itself over time. 

Words that are so heavily charged by events in history are worth learning and understanding, especially when they begin to be circulated again. 


  1. Fascist definition and meaning | Collins English Dictionary 
  2. What Is Fascism | Live Science 
  3. Pact of Steel | Italy–Germany [1939] | Britannica