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patriot

[pey-tree-uh t, -ot or, esp. British, pa-tree-uh t]
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noun
  1. a person who loves, supports, and defends his or her country and its interests with devotion.
  2. a person who regards himself or herself as a defender, especially of individual rights, against presumed interference by the federal government.
  3. (initial capital letter) Military. a U.S. Army antiaircraft missile with a range of 37 miles (60 km) and a 200-pound (90 kg) warhead, launched from a tracked vehicle with radar and computer guidance and fire control.
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Origin of patriot

1590–1600; < Middle French patriote < Late Latin patriōta < Greek patriṓtēs fellow-countryman, lineage member
Related formsan·ti·pa·tri·ot, nounsem·i·pa·tri·ot, noun
Dictionary.com Unabridged Based on the Random House Unabridged Dictionary, © Random House, Inc. 2018

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British Dictionary definitions for patriot

patriot

noun
  1. a person who vigorously supports his country and its way of life
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Derived Formspatriotic (ˌpætrɪˈɒtɪk), adjectivepatriotically, adverb

Word Origin

C16: via French from Late Latin patriōta, from Greek patriotēs, from patris native land; related to Greek patēr father; compare Latin pater father, patria fatherland

Patriot

noun
  1. a US surface-to-air missile system with multiple launch stations and the capability to track multiple targets by radar
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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 patriot

n.

1590s, "compatriot," from Middle French patriote (15c.) and directly from Late Latin patriota "fellow-countryman" (6c.), from Greek patriotes "fellow countryman," from patrios "of one's fathers," patris "fatherland," from pater (genitive patros) "father" (see father (n.)); with -otes, suffix expressing state or condition. Liddell and Scott write that patriotes was "applied to barbarians who had only a common [patris], [politai] being used of Greeks who had a common [polis] (or free-state)."

Meaning "loyal and disinterested supporter of one's country" is attested from c.1600, but became an ironic term of ridicule or abuse from mid-18c. in England, so that Johnson, who at first defined it as "one whose ruling passion is the love of his country," in his fourth edition added, "It is sometimes used for a factious disturber of the government."

The name of patriot had become [c.1744] a by-word of derision. Horace Walpole scarcely exaggerated when he said that ... the most popular declaration which a candidate could make on the hustings was that he had never been and never would be a patriot. [Macaulay, "Horace Walpole," 1833]

Somewhat revived in reference to resistance movements in overrun countries in World War II, it has usually had a positive sense in American English, where the phony and rascally variety has been consigned to the word patrioteer (1928). Oriana Fallaci ["The Rage and the Pride," 2002] marvels that Americans, so fond of patriotic, patriot, and patriotism, lack the root noun and are content to express the idea of patria by cumbersome compounds such as homeland. (Joyce, Shaw, and H.G. Wells all used patria as an English word early 20c., but it failed to stick.) Patriots' Day (April 19, anniversary of the 1775 skirmishes at Lexington and Concord Bridge) was observed as a legal holiday in Maine and Massachusetts from 1894.

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Online Etymology Dictionary, © 2010 Douglas Harper