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chauvinism

[shoh-vuh-niz-uh m] /ˈʃoʊ vəˌnɪz əm/
noun
1.
zealous and aggressive patriotism or blind enthusiasm for military glory.
2.
biased devotion to any group, attitude, or cause:
religious chauvinism.
3.
the denigration, disparagement, and patronization of either sex based on the belief that one sex is inferior to the other and thus deserving of less than equal treatment or benefit.
Compare male chauvinism.
Origin
1865-1870
1865-70; < French chauvinisme, equivalent to chauvin jingo (named after N. Chauvin, a soldier in Napoleon's army noted for loud-mouthed patriotism) + -isme -ism
Related forms
chauvinist, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2014.
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British Dictionary definitions for chauvinism

chauvinism

/ˈʃəʊvɪˌnɪzəm/
noun
1.
aggressive or fanatical patriotism; jingoism
2.
enthusiastic devotion to a cause
3.
smug irrational belief in the superiority of one's own race, party, sex, etc: male chauvinism
Derived Forms
chauvinist, noun
chauvinistic, adjective
chauvinistically, adverb
Word Origin
C19: from French chauvinisme, after Nicolas Chauvin, legendary French soldier under Napoleon, noted for his vociferous and unthinking patriotism
Collins English Dictionary - Complete & Unabridged 2012 Digital Edition
© William Collins Sons & Co. Ltd. 1979, 1986 © HarperCollins
Publishers 1998, 2000, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2009, 2012
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Word Origin and History for chauvinism
n.

1840, "exaggerated, blind patriotism," from French chauvinisme (1839), from the character Nicholas Chauvin, soldier of Napoleon's Grand Armee, notoriously attached to the Empire long after it was history, in the Cogniards' popular 1831 vaudeville "La Cocarde Tricolore."

Meaning extended to "sexism" via male chauvinism (1969). The name is a French form of Latin Calvinus and thus Calvinism and chauvinism are, etymologically, twins. The name was a common one in Napoleon's army, and if there was a real person at the base of the character in the play, he has not been certainly identified by etymologists, though memoirs of Waterloo (one published in Paris in 1822) mention "one of our principal piqueurs, named Chauvin, who had returned with Napoleon from Elba," which implies loyalty.

Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper
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chauvinism in Culture

chauvinism definition


Exaggerated belief in the supremacy of one's nation, class, caste, or group. Chauvinism usually involves xenophobia.

Note: The word chauvinism is often used as shorthand for “male chauvinism,” a term describing the attitudes of men who believe that women are inferior and should not be given equal status with men. (See also feminism.)
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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Encyclopedia Article for chauvinism

excessive and unreasonable patriotism, similar to jingoism. The word is derived from the name of Nicolas Chauvin, a French soldier who, satisfied with the reward of military honours and a small pension, retained a simpleminded devotion to Napoleon. Chauvin came to typify the cult of the glorification of all things military that was popular after 1815 among the veterans of Napoleon's armies. Later, chauvinism came to mean any kind of ultranationalism and was used generally to connote an undue partiality or attachment to a group or place to which one belongs. The term chauvinism also may describe an attitude of superiority toward members of the opposite sex, as in male chauvinism. Some animal-rights advocates have used the term to indicate a similar attitude on the part of human beings toward other species, as in "species chauvinism."

Learn more about chauvinism with a free trial on Britannica.com
Encyclopedia Britannica, 2008. Encyclopedia Britannica Online.
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