- 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 male chauvinism.
- aggressive or fanatical patriotism; jingoism
- enthusiastic devotion to a cause
- smug irrational belief in the superiority of one’s own race, party, sex, etcmale chauvinism
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.