Sheeple is a term of disparagement, a portmanteau created by combining the words "sheep" and "people."

It is often used to denote persons who acquiesce to authority, and thus undermine their own human individuality. The implication of "sheeple" is that as a collective, people believe whatever they are told, especially if told so by authority figures, without processing it to be sure that it is an accurate representation of the real world around them. The term is generally used in a political or religious sense. The singular form of the term is "sherson," however, the plural form is most often used.


The label seems to have originated among those in the United States of a far right political persuasion. Shortwave radio host Milton William Cooper used it commonly during his Hour of the Time radio show during the late 80s and early 90s. The "Wall Street Journal" first reported the label in print in 1984; the reporter heard the word used by the proprietor of an "American Opinion" bookstore affiliated with the John Birch Society. [Bob Davis, "In New Hampshire, 'Live Free or Die' Is More Than a Motto," The Wall Street Journal, February 27, 1984, quoted online at [ Word Spy] ] In this usage, taxpayers were derided for their perceived blind conformity as opposed to those who thought independently. [ [ "Word of the Week: Sheeple"] at Macmillan Dictionary.]

The term is also used for those who are tolerant of government intrusion and regulation. In a column entitled "A Nation of Sheeple," columnist Walter E. Williams writes, "Americans sheepishly accepted all sorts of Transportation Security Administration nonsense. In the name of security, we've allowed fingernail clippers, eyeglass screwdrivers and toy soldiers to be taken from us prior to boarding a plane." [ [ "A Nation of Sheeple"] , "Capitalism Magazine", October 19, 2005.] This usage emphasizing unneeded or excessive tolerance is sometimes extended to those who are very accepting of capitalism, those in favor of globalization, or those affected with consumerism. It is also used to describe those who easily recognize and submit to authority figures or appointed leaders.

The term also has been applied to zealously religious people. In political usage, it can be used to refer to a member of any political party, but especially those who take a hard party line stance or who are especially trusting of any politician.

The term is also used more broadly to describe any person the speaker feels is exceedingly conformist to consumer culture and popular culture.

Popular culture

* In the "South Park" episode "Mystery of the Urinal Deuce", a satire of 9/11 conspiracy theories, George W. Bush refers to the American people as "sheeple".

ee also

*Simple living
*Herd instinct
*Herd behavior
*Crowd psychology
*Group behaviour
*Team player
*Culture jam


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