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The word rabble-rouser has been in use since the mid-1800s. Rabble-rouser is a hyphenated compound word, which is one composed of two separate words joined together, linked by a hyphen. We will examine the definition of rabble-rouser, where the word came from and some examples of its use in sentences.

A rabble-rouser is someone who incites a crowd of people into action, most often violent action. A rabble-rouser usually attempts to stir up the emotions of the masses for political reasons. The rabble in this case is a mob of unruly people. It is a derogatory word, derived from the Middle English rablen meaning mindless babble or a pack of wild animals. Rabble-rouse may be used as a verb, related words are rabble-rouses, rabble-roused, rabble-rousing. The term rabble-rousing was first used in 1802, though the term rabble-rouser didn’t appear until the 1840s. Note that the word rabble-rouser is properly spelled with a hyphen.


He even knew the leads of the show, though he was more of a background rabble-rouser than cameo star. (The Village Voice)

Chamber President Thomas J. Donohue said they’ve been pushed to take a more active role in order to counter right-wing rabble-rouser Steve Bannon and others who are trying to recruit nominees who will challenge establishment Republicans. (The Washington Times)

He was considered to be a rabble-rouser by the orthodox, Hindu-dominated management of the college as he encouraged his students to question social evils. (The Indian Express)

Would his fellow brethren welcome him or shun him — as history shows they did in 1964, when Mayor Richard J. Daley warned local black preachers to not allow the southern traveling rabble-rouser to speak from their pulpits or else face political repercussions? (The Huffington Post)