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[shoh-vuh-nist] /ˈʃoʊ və nɪst/

a person who is aggressively and blindly patriotic, especially one devoted to military glory.
a person who believes one gender is superior to the other, as a male chauvinist or a female chauvinist.
[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 .
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

1877, from French chauviniste, from Chauvin (see chauvinism). Related: Chauvinistic (1870).

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.

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.)


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