Monday, August 23, 2010

Words that don't get used often enough: Jingoism

I've heard this word.  But only because it has been used in the Scripps-Howard Spelling Bee for several years, at least.  And while I thought it had something to do with prejudice, I couldn't have given you a coherent definition to save my life.  Oddly, this word "jingoism" has come up in conversation or email twice within the last 48 hours!  I took this as a sign that this should be covered under my "Words That Don't Get Used Often Enough" category.   

Embarrassingly enough, it doesn't mean what I thought it did, either! So, I present to you the word Jingoism:


\ˈjiŋ-(ˌ)gō-ˌi-zəm\ noun

Definition of JINGOISM

: extreme chauvinism or nationalism marked especially by a belligerent foreign policy
jin·go·ist\-ist\ noun or adjective
jin·go·is·tic\ˌjiŋ-gō-ˈis-tik\ adjective
jin·go·is·ti·cal·ly\-ti-k(ə-)lē\ adverb

Examples of JINGOISM

  1. When the war began many people were caught up in a wave of jingoism.
  2. jingoism will not win us any foreign allies>

First Known Use of JINGOISM


It really makes you wonder what happened in 1878, doesn't it?  I've got your back.  It was the Russo-Turkish War (just before the second Boer War) and the etymology of the word comes from the British use of the term "by Jingo," which Wikipedia quaintly calls a "long-established minced oath." 

So, I hope you'll try to find a way to use "jingoism" at least once in the next week.  And be patient with me while I try to work it into a sentence, too.

1 comment:

  1. That is a fabulous word! It will be a challenge for me to work it in...