Merriam-Webster Word of the Day: Jingoism

The Merriam-Webster Word of the Day is jingoism. Read on for what it means, how it’s used, and more.

What It Means

Jingoism is excessive patriotism or nationalism, especially when marked by a belligerent foreign policy.

// When the war began many people were caught up in a wave of jingoism.

JINGOISM in Context

“War is bad for culture. Not least of all because it turns our cultural institutions into bastions of jingoism.” — Annie Levin, The New York Observer, 7 Mar. 2022

Did You Know?

Jingoism originated during the Russo-Turkish War of 1877-1878, when many British citizens were hostile toward Russia and felt Britain should intervene in the conflict. Supporters of the cause expressed their sentiments in a music-hall ditty with this refrain:

We don’t want to fight, yet by jingo if we do,

We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men,

We’ve got the money, too!

Someone holding the attitude implied in the song became known as a jingo or jingoist, and the attitude itself was dubbed jingoism. The jingo in the tune is probably a euphemism for Jesus.

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