[ 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.

Nearby words

  1. chaussure,
  2. chautauqua,
  3. chautauqua lake,
  4. chautemps,
  5. chautemps, camille,
  6. chauvinist,
  7. chauvinistic,
  8. chav,
  9. chavannes,
  10. chavannes, puvis de

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 formschau·vin·ist, noun Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2019

Examples from the Web for chauvinism

British Dictionary definitions for chauvinism


/ (ˈʃəʊvɪˌnɪzəm) /


aggressive or fanatical patriotism; jingoism
enthusiastic devotion to a cause
smug irrational belief in the superiority of one's own race, party, sex, etcmale chauvinism
Derived Formschauvinist, nounchauvinistic, adjectivechauvinistically, adverb

Word Origin for chauvinism

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

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

Culture definitions for chauvinism


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


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 (see also feminism).)

The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. Published by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt Publishing Company. All rights reserved.