1718, "committee of cardinals in charge of foreign missions of the Catholic Church," short for Congregatio de Propaganda Fide "congregation for propagating the faith," a committee of cardinals established 1622 by Gregory XV to supervise foreign missions. The word is properly the ablative fem. gerundive of Latin propagare "set forward, extend, spread, increase" (see propagation).
Hence, "any movement or organization to propagate some practice or ideology" (1790). The modern political sense ("dissemination of information intended to promote a political point of view") dates from World War I, not originally pejorative and implying bias or deliberate misleading. Meaning "material or information propagated to advance a cause, etc." is from 1929. Related: Propagandic.
1926, "a German seeking to avenge Germany's defeat in World War I and recover lost territory," on model of French revanchiste, which had been used in reference to those in France who sought to reverse the results of the defeat of France by Prussia in 1871 (which was accomplished by World War I).
This is from revanche "revenge, requital," especially in reference to a national policy seeking return of lost territory, from French revanche "revenge," earlier revenche, back-formation from revenchier (see revenge (v.)). Used during the Cold War in Soviet propaganda in reference to West Germany. Related: Revanchism (1954).
1680s, "of or pertaining to the mind as a subject of study;" see psychology + -ical. In early 20c. the sense gradually shifted toward "affecting or pertaining to a person's mental or emotional state." Related: Psychologically. Psychological warfare "use of propaganda, etc., to undermine an enemy's morale or resolve" is recorded from 1940. Psychological moment was in vogue from 1871, from French moment psychologique "moment of immediate expectation of something about to happen."
The original German phrase, misinterpreted by the French & imported together with its false sense into English, meant the psychic factor, the mental effect, the influence exerted by a state of mind, & not a point of time at all, das Moment in German corresponding to our momentum, not our moment. [Fowler]
1841, as both a noun and adjective, from French communiste, from commun (Old French comun "common, general, free, open, public;" see common (adj.)) + -iste (see -ist). First attested in writing by John Goodwin Barmby (1820-1881), British Owenite and utopian socialist who founded the London Communist Propaganda Society in 1841. Main modern sense, "an opponent of capitalism or supporter of revolutionary leftism," emerged after publication of Communist Manifesto ("Manifest der Kommunistischen Partei") in 1848.
All communists without exception propose that the people as a whole, or some particular division of the people, as a village or commune, should own all the means of production--land, houses, factories, railroads, canals, etc.; that production should be carried on in common; and that officers, selected in one way or another, should distribute among the inhabitants the fruits of their labor. [Richard T. Ely, "French and German Socialism in Modern Times," New York, 1883]
Shortened form Commie is attested from 1939. Century Dictionary (1900) recognizes the noun alone; as an adjective it has only communistic (1850) "relating to communists or communism."