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[shoh-vuh-niz-uh m] /ˈʃoʊ vəˌnɪz əm/
zealous and aggressive patriotism or blind enthusiasm for military glory.
biased devotion to any group, attitude, or cause:
religious chauvinism.
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 of chauvinism
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 Unabridged
Based on the Random House Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018.
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British Dictionary definitions for chauvinism


aggressive or fanatical patriotism; jingoism
enthusiastic devotion to a cause
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

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 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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