May 11, 2011
- chauvinist (noun)
- What does it mean?
- 1 : a person who exhibits exaggerated or unthinking patriotism2 : a person who regards or treats members of the opposite sex as inferior
- How do you use it?
- When my sister said that boys aren't as good at reading as girls, my brother called her a female chauvinist.
- Are you a word wiz?
Like so many other words, "chauvinist" has an interesting history. Where do you think the word "chauvinist" comes from?In the early 1830s, French audiences were enjoying the play "La Cocarde tricolore" by brothers Charles and J. Hippolyte Cogniard. It mocked a character named Nicolas Chauvin, an extremely patriotic 19th-century soldier who remained passionately devoted to his leader, Napoleon, no matter what happened. Around the time the play was published, French speakers started using "chauvinisme," a word based on Chauvin's name, for anyone who was excessively patriotic. By the 1870s, English speakers had borrowed the word as "chauvinism." Over time, people started using it for anyone who considers other people (especially people of the opposite sex) inferior.