Where does RINO come from?
Examples of RINO
Who uses RINO?
Common enough in some circles to be written like its own word (Rino), RINO is mainly used in political speech, journalism, blogging, and social media by conservatives to criticize fellow party members, especially office holders, for not being true Republicans. The charge is often issued when a Republican shows a willingness to compromise with Democrats or deviates from the party line on more hardline issues (e.g., climate change or reproductive rights).
RINO is sometimes used of politicians considered too far-right of the mainstream Republican party, as Dole called Cruz in 2016. It’s also sometimes used more broadly to attack any conservative another conservative disagrees with.
References to RINOs often use actual rhino images, riffing on the Republican elephant mascot. RINO also sees colorful wordplay (e.g., RINO hunter, or Republicans trying to stop the election or reelection of alleged RINOs).
A less common Democratic party counterpart is DIABLO, or “Democrat in All But Label Only.” For whatever reason, the term DINO (“Democrat in Name Only”) has never really caught on. RINO is not the only popular use of the “in name only” acronym though. For example, the 1998 American Godzilla film is often referred to by fans as GINO, or “Godzilla in Name Only.”
This is not meant to be a formal definition of RINO like most terms we define on Dictionary.com, but is rather an informal word summary that hopefully touches upon the key aspects of the meaning and usage of RINO that will help our users expand their word mastery.