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Promulgate vs propagate

Promulgate is a verb that means to declare something widely and officially. It can be one person spreading his or her belief of something or a government announcing a new policy.

It has two noun forms, promulgation and promulgator.

There are many differing ways to pronounce the vowel sounds in promulgate, and all are accepted as correct.


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Propagate, besides being commonly misspelled with two o‘s, is a verb that means to create, usually when talking about vegetation, though sometimes it is used simply to mean that one thing causes another. It can also be a synonym of promulgate, to spread an idea or message.

It has two noun forms, propagation and propagator. 

Examples

Bob and Roberta Smith is the cognomen of a British artist who specializes in humorously mocking art institutions and the conventional attitudes they tend to promulgate. [The New York Times]

The FBI, for example, targets the very Arab-American and Muslim-American communities it needs to work with if it hopes to find and neutralize home-grown violent extremists, including promulgating new rules on profiling that allow for the potential mapping of Arab- or Muslim-American communities. [Reuters]

The exclusivities of a patented drug allow for profits vastly greater than those likely with any supplement, and that monetary divide propagates a divide in related research evidence. [Huffington Post]

The wonders of twin-scaling – whereby bulbs are surgically-divided into a multitude of small slivers and grown on in relatively sterile conditions, allowing increased rates of propagation – has allowed the wide distribution of this exquisite plant, and it is now widely available at a respectable price. [The Guardian]

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Comments

  1. mark oram says:

    Propagation of Error (or Propagation of Uncertainty) should have been your counter example. Or propagation of waves. And, if the intended meaning is to enable the transmission of a meme, as opposed to promote it, promulgate might be the error.

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