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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 ?
The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left.
Storrs, The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left (Princeton: Princeton University Press 2013)
Reinvention is also one of the themes in Storrs' The Second Red Scare and the Unmaking of the New Deal Left.
Ultimately this second Red Scare (the first followed World War I) would destroy their careers and undermine many of the programs designed to redistribute wealth, overcome economic insecurity, and turn the United States into a fairer and more humane nation.
Some specific topics include Truman's Loyalty Review Board, his attempt to manage the second Red Scare, executive confidentiality during the Cold War, his treatment of Japanese Americans, and his Peace Program.
The aftermath of World War II saw the country embroiled in a second Red Scare.
Wikipedia points out that: "This usage is especially associated with the Second Red Scare of the 1950s (the McCarthyist persecution of communists in the United States).