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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 ?
He'd already shot himself in the foot with a poisonous McCarthyite "terrorist sympathisers" slur against the half of Britain disagreeing with war.
Their iconic hero, Ronald Reagan, was a McCarthyite who purged California colleges of "Commies," as he saw us.
This notion of homosexuals as 'curiously susceptible to treachery' is mirrored in America where the McCarthyite witch hunts were underway and where homosexuals were prime targets (Weeks, 2010).
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.
The John Birch Society was a hybrid of Old Right libertarian economics and the McCarthyite paranoia of the 1950s, and Fred--by this time a tycoon--relentlessly lectured his four sons on the evils of collectivism and the value of hard work.
The Education Secretary, not content with urging contempt be heaped on the current generation of teachers nor with top-loading the satchels of the nation's schoolkids through ever-earlier SATS tests and closed-curriculum examinations, has found a new victim for his McCarthyite bullying: Blackadder
But Labour MP Paul Flynn said: "This is a piece of McCarthyite scare-mongering and it disgraces Parliament.
Dolinar, however, compiles a fine portrait of a man who chose to leave his country rather than to subject himself to the McCarthyite inquisition or to blunt his pen to save his professional skin.
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.
McCarthyite red-baiting is one thing but untruthfully accusing someone of being an ardent supporter of Hamas or viewing children as a legitimate target for suicide bombers is another.
Since Ukip's "breakthrough" in the English local elections other "anti-fascist" groups, such as Hope Not Hate, have decided that Ukip fall within their remit (which in my view lends the word "fascist" a truly McCarthyite breadth), and elements of the "direct action" left have never had trouble distinguishing their politically-motivated and violent suppression of freedom of speech and assembly from the potentially similar actions of their "fascist" opponents.
When the Cold War broke out after the end of World War II, Bulosan and his compatriots in the trade union movement were targeted by the McCarthyite witch-hunts.