- , CHAUVINISMChauvinist and chauvinism were derived from the name of an overzealous French patriot named Nicolas Chauvin, of Rochefort. Chauvin, a veteran trooper in La Grande Armee, was wounded seventeen times while serving the First Republic and then the Empire under Napoleon. He had an exaggerated, almost fanatical admiration for the Corsican. He would not stop singing Napoleon's praises and the glories of France, and he was ridiculed for his unbridled boasting. He was caricatured by French playwrights Charles and Jean Cogniard, who were brothers, in La Cocarde tricolors ("Je suis francais, je suis Chauvin"—I am French, I am Chauvin) and by Eugene Scribe in Le Soldat Labourer. The character of Chauvin was depicted in a number of other works, including Conscript Chauvin by Charet and The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Orczy. Chauvin would not recognize what has happened to the word denoting his adoration of Napoleon. Today a chauvinist may still of course refer to someone who mouths unreasoning patriotism, but it is far more frequently used by feminists to deride dispositions of male supremacy. Or it may represent a person who is an overzealous supporter of any cause.Eugene Maleska, former crossword puzzle editor of The New York Times, cites this doggerel without attribution:Poor Nicholas, how fickle isThe world you loved a lot;Now you're condemned by angry femmesFor all that you were not.But, sir, you rate some hoots of hateAs superpatriot!
Dictionary of eponyms. Morton S. Freeman. 2013.