Thursday, August 7, 2008

Jingoism -- belligerent foreign policy

From yesterday's Garner's Usage Tip of the Day:

jingoist; jingo.
The former has come to displace the latter as the agent noun corresponding to "jingoism." A "jingoist" is a belligerent patriot and nationalist who favors an aggressive foreign policy.
Its origin was a Victorian era pub & music hall song with the chorus--
We don't want to fight but by Jingo if we do
We've got the ships, we've got the men, we've got the money too
We've fought the Bear before, and while we're Britons true
The Russians shall not have Constantinople.
The word almost always carries pejorative connotations -- e.g.:
o "You want every loser white supremacist, every mean-spirited neo-Nazi, every jerk jingoist out there?" James Coates, "Bait-and-Switch Works on the Web," Sun-Sentinel (Ft. Lauderdale), 8 Sept. 1996, at G4.
o "The Duma's jingoists seem to care little that the obligations of START-2 are finely balanced." "Russia's Surly Answer to NATO," Economist (U.S. ed.), 1 Feb. 1997, at 47.
o "Many Serbs . . . escaped the war of the jingoists by fleeing or deserting." Peter Schneider, "The Writer Takes a Hike," New Republic, 3 Mar. 1997, at 34.
"Jingo" has pretty much been driven out, unless a pun is needed -- e.g.: "Jingo bells, jingo bells, jingoism all the way on MTV this season." "The Best of Cable & Satellite," Independent, 21 Dec. 1996, at 57. Otherwise, it appears mostly in the phrase "by jingo," a mild oath expressing affirmation or surprise {I'll do it, by jingo!}.

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