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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 ?
Wax (ed.), Anthropology at the dawn of the Cold War: The influence of foundations, MacCarthyism, and the CIA, pp.
Wilson's Attorney General, Mitchell Palmer, took advantage of labor violence and anti-Bolshevik hysteria in the wake of the 1917 Russian Revolution to stage a chilling rehearsal of the Cold War and MacCarthyism. Palmer was a Democratic member of the House of Representatives who had supported women's suffrage and trade union rights, but events in Russia and several violent incidents at home were the occasion for him to shift his views.
Three years later, with illusions about Soviet Russia beginning to unravel, Triolet published Le-Rendez-vous des etrangers, in which the friendship between the Russian Olga Heller, persecuted by the Soviet bureaucracy, and the talented America painter Frank Mosso, destroyed by MacCarthyism, develops against the backdrop of and equal condemnation of both systems.