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1. The practice of publicizing accusations of political disloyalty or subversion with insufficient regard to evidence.
2. The use of unfair investigatory or accusatory methods in order to suppress opposition.

[After Joseph Raymond McCarthy.]

Mc·Car′thy·ist n.


1. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the practice of making unsubstantiated accusations of disloyalty or Communist leanings
2. (Government, Politics & Diplomacy) the use of unsupported accusations for any purpose
[C20: after Joseph McCarthy]
McˈCarthyite n, adj


(məˈkɑr θiˌɪz əm)

the use of unsubstantiated accusations or unfair investigative techniques in an attempt to expose disloyalty or subversion.
[1950, Amer.; after J. R. McCarthy; see -ism]
Mc•Car′thy•ite`, n.


1. U.S. the practice of making accusations of disloyalty, especially of pro-Communist activity, often unsupported or based on doubtful evidence.
2. any attempt to restrict political criticism or individual dissent by claiming it to be unpatriotic or pro-Communist.
See also: Politics
ThesaurusAntonymsRelated WordsSynonymsLegend:
Noun1.McCarthyism - unscrupulously accusing people of disloyalty (as by saying they were Communists)
witch-hunt - searching out and harassing dissenters


[məˈkɑːθɪɪzəm] N (US) (Pol) → macartismo m
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References in periodicals archive ?
We put out a little magazine, Comment, that provided an outlet for intellectuals and writers some of whom were blacklisted by the McCarthyite witch hunters.
That's the worrying aspect which smacks of a kind of McCarthyite interest.
The film legend was a victim of the McCarthyite witch-hunt.
No known evidence demonstrates any complicity in Chisholm's scheme, but in a smarmy new ad she exploits his manufactured atmosphere of synthetic scandal in a manner best described as McCarthyite.
But Labour MP Paul Flynn said: "This is a piece of McCarthyite scare-mongering and it disgraces Parliament.
It would take a McCarthyite purge of the institutions to do so, and such a purge is no longer possible, because opposition to the promiscuous use of military force has become too politically diverse.
That absurd McCarthyite attack was false, but the vilification was real.
Ike--and almost all of those advising him, after the McCarthyite decimation of the State Department--was a confirmed Europeanist, with little knowledge of or intrinsic interest in China.
Those who understand that most American liberals in the 1950s were patriotic social democrats, who called themselves liberals because they were afraid of attack, not from the Left, but from the McCarthyite Right, will understand that Moynihan's liberalism grew out of his New Deal reverence for what he called (in his "Guiding Principles for Federal Architecture") the "dignity, enterprise, vigor and stability of the Federal government.
True, some of it is classic McCarthyite red-baiting.
In the world of politics, the mashup has just become a shiny new version of the old McCarthyite smear.
Musmanno was a controversial figure who began his legal career as a champion of Sacco and Vanzetti, and who dismally concluded his career as a red-baiting McCarthyite and a buffoon of crass self-promotion at the Eichmann trial.