Help Wordnik hunt for a million missing words by backing our Kickstarter!


from Wiktionary, Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike License

  • n. A semi-spontaneous or media-generated mass movement based on the perception that an individual, group, community, or culture is dangerously deviant and poses a menace to society. A public outcry.


Coined in 1972 by Stanley Cohen, who coined the phrase to describe media coverage of Mods and Rockers in Great Britain in the 1960s. (Wiktionary)


Sorry, no example sentences found.


Log in or sign up to get involved in the conversation. It's quick and easy.

  • Witch-hunts are an example of mass behavior fueled by moral panic.
    More recent examples:
    sexual assault on college campuses; human trafficking; sex offender panic (people convicted of any sex crime), satanic ritual abuse; AIDS; video games; increases in crime; war on drugs.

    June 20, 2015