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Definition of bread and circuses


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Houghton Mifflin

bread and circuses

pl.n.
Offerings, such as benefits or entertainments, intended to placate discontent or distract attention from a policy or situation.

ETYMOLOGY:
Translation of Latin pnem et circnss, a phrase coined by the Roman poet Juvenal : pnem, accusative singular of pnis, bread + et, and + circnss, circus games


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