AskDefine | Define chauvinism

Dictionary Definition



1 fanatical patriotism [syn: jingoism, superpatriotism, ultranationalism]
2 activity indicative of belief in the superiority of men over women [syn: male chauvinism, antifeminism]

User Contributed Dictionary



From chauvinisme (originally ‘idealistic devotion to Napoleon’), named from Nicolas Chauvin de Rochefort, a soldier of the First Republic known for his excessive patriotism, especially famous after featuring as a character in Cogniard's play La Cocarde Tricolore.


  • (RP): /ˈʃəʊ.vɪ.nɪ.zəm/, /"S@U.vI.nI.z@m/
  • (US): /'ʃoʊ.vəˌnɪzm̩/, /"SoU.v@.nI.z@m/
  • (Aus): /ˈʃəʊ.və.nɪ.zəm/, /"S@U.v@.nI.z@m/


  1. Excessive patriotism, eagerness for national superiority; jingoism.
  2. Unwarranted bias, favoritism, or devotion to one's own particular group, cause, or idea.
    Feminists say that male chauvinism is still prevalent in cultures worldwide.

Derived terms

Related terms


excessive patriotism
  • Croatian: šovinizam
  • Czech: šovinismus, šovinizmus
  • Finnish: nationalismi
  • German: Chauvinismus, Hurrapatriotismus, Hurra-Patriotismus
  • Hungarian: nacionalizmus
  • Polish: szowinizm
  • Spanish: chovinismo, patrioterismo
  • Swedish: chauvinism
unwarranted bias
  • Czech: šovinismus, šovinizmus
  • Finnish: sovinismi
  • German: Chauvinismus
  • Hungarian: sovinizmus
  • Polish: szowinizm
  • Swedish: chauvinism

See also




Related terms

Extensive Definition

Chauvinism () is extreme and unreasoning partisanship on behalf of a group to which one belongs, especially when the partisanship includes malice and hatred towards a rival group. Jingoism is a similar term of British derivation. A frequent contemporary use of the term in English is male chauvinism, which refers to the belief that men are superior to women. Female chauvinism refers to the belief that women are superior to men. The term has also been used to refer to women who replicate male chauvinism and sexist stereotypes.


The term is derived from the undocumented Nicolas Chauvin, whose legend made him out to be a soldier under Napoleon Bonaparte. He served in the Wars of Revolution (1798–1800) and the Napoleonic Wars, wherein he was wounded seventeen times and severely disabled. Despite the unpopularity of Bonapartism in Restoration France, Chauvin was an ardent supporter and was often seen wearing a violet in his lapel, the symbol of his deposed Emperor. He remained fanatically loyal despite his poverty, disability, and the abuse he suffered.
Many writers and historians falsely attribute to Chauvin the exploits of other Bonapartists. It is claimed that he served in the Old Guard at Waterloo, which is unlikely considering his age and the severity of his disabilities. When the Old Guard was surrounded and made its last stand at Le Belle Alliance, he supposedly shouted in defiance to a call for their honorable surrender: "The Old Guard dies but does not surrender!", implying blind and unquestioned zealous devotion to one's country [or other group of reference].
The origin and early usage indicate that chauvinisme was coined to describe excessive nationalism, which the original French term continues to do. The term entered public use due to a satirical treatment of Chauvin in the French play La Cocarde Tricolore (The Tricolore Cockade).

Chauvinism as nationalism

In "Imperialism, Nationalism, Chauvinism", in The Review of Politics 7.4, (October 1945), p. 457, Hannah Arendt describes the concept:
Chauvinism is an almost natural product of the national concept insofar as it springs directly from the old idea of the "national mission." ... (A) nation's mission might be interpreted precisely as bringing its light to other, less fortunate peoples that, for whatever reason, have miraculously been left by history without a national mission. As long as this concept did not develop into the ideology of chauvinism and remained in the rather vague realm of national or even nationalistic pride, it frequently resulted in a high sense of responsibility for the welfare of backward peoples.
(See, for example, white man's burden.)
The word does not require a judgment that the chauvinist is right or wrong in his opinion, only that he is blind and unreasoning in coming to it, ignoring any facts which might temper his fervor. In modern use, however, it is often used pejoratively to imply that the chauvinist is both unreasoning and wrong.

Male chauvinism

seealso Sexism
Male chauvinism is a term used to describe the attitude that men are superior to women. The term was used by the feminist movement in the 1960s to describe men who believe or display an attitude that women are inferior to men, speak to women as inferiors, or treat women negatively based solely upon their gender.

Female chauvinism

seealso Sexism Female chauvinism can refer to the belief that women are superior to men.
According to Nathanson and Young, one form of feminism they call "ideological feminism" is chauvinistic as well as misandric. They assert that this form of feminism alleges "directly or indirectly that women are superior to men," and that its supporters often claim that "women are psychologically, morally, spiritually, intellectually, and biologically superior to men".
Wendy McElroy claims that in some gender feminist views, all men are considered irreconcilable rapists, wife-beating brutes, and useless as partners or fathers to women. McElroy and Camille Paglia claim that gender feminists view women as innocent victims who never make irresponsible or morally questionable choices. Other feminists such as Kate Fillion have questioned the idea that women are always innocent victims and men always the guilty victimizers when the interests of each collide with those of the other.
On the other hand, Ariel Levy uses the term in another sense in the title of her book, Female Chauvinist Pigs. She claims that many young women in the United States are replicating male chauvinism and sexist stereotypes about women in their embrace of what she labels "raunch culture" and traditionally masculine attributes. These women she designates female chauvinist pigs.


chauvinism in Min Nan Chinese: Chauvin-chú-gī
chauvinism in Tosk Albanian: Chauvinismus
chauvinism in Arabic: شوفينية
chauvinism in Min Nan: Chauvin-chú-gī
chauvinism in Bulgarian: Шовинизъм
chauvinism in Catalan: Xovinisme
chauvinism in Czech: Šovinismus
chauvinism in German: Chauvinismus
chauvinism in Estonian: Šovinism
chauvinism in Modern Greek (1453-): Σωβινισμός
chauvinism in Spanish: Chovinismo
chauvinism in Esperanto: Ŝovinismo
chauvinism in French: Chauvinisme
chauvinism in Korean: 배타주의
chauvinism in Croatian: Šovinizam
chauvinism in Italian: Sciovinismo
chauvinism in Hebrew: שוביניזם
chauvinism in Georgian: შოვინიზმი
chauvinism in Lithuanian: Šovinizmas
chauvinism in Hungarian: Sovinizmus
chauvinism in Macedonian: Шовинизам
chauvinism in Dutch: Chauvinisme
chauvinism in Japanese: 排外主義
chauvinism in Polish: Szowinizm
chauvinism in Portuguese: Chauvinismo
chauvinism in Russian: Шовинизм
chauvinism in Slovak: Šovinizmus
chauvinism in Serbian: Шовинизам
chauvinism in Finnish: Šovinismi
chauvinism in Swedish: Chauvinism
chauvinism in Vietnamese: Chủ nghĩa Sôvanh
chauvinism in Turkish: Şovenizm
chauvinism in Ukrainian: Шовінізм
chauvinism in Chinese: 沙文主义

Synonyms, Antonyms and Related Words

Americanism, Anglicism, Briticism, Jim Crow, Jim Crow law, aggression, aggressiveness, antagonism, anti-Semitism, apartheid, bellicism, bellicosity, belligerence, belligerency, black power, black supremacy, class consciousness, class distinction, class hatred, class prejudice, class war, color bar, color line, combativeness, contentiousness, discrimination, fascism, ferocity, fierceness, fight, flag waving, hostility, jingoism, know-nothingism, love of country, male chauvinist, martialism, militancy, militarism, minority prejudice, nationalism, nationality, overpatriotism, patriotics, patriotism, pugnaciousness, pugnacity, quarrelsomeness, race hatred, race prejudice, race snobbery, racial discrimination, racialism, racism, red-baiting, saber rattling, segregation, sex discrimination, sexism, social barrier, social discrimination, superpatriotism, truculence, ultranationalism, unfriendliness, unpeacefulness, warmongering, warpath, white power, white supremacy, xenophobia
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