The Meaning of Bigot: What It Is and How To Use It

Do you know the definition of bigot? This article will provide you with all of the information you need on the word bigot, including its definition, usage, word origin, and more!

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What does the word bigot mean? 

According to the Merriam-Webster Unabridged Dictionary of the English Language and the American Heritage Dictionary of the English language, the word bigot is a noun that refers to one who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices. This word is used especially when this person treats members of another racial, ethic, or religious group with hatred and intolerance. Someone who treats members of a group, creed, or ethic group differently or worse because of their politics, genders, or otherwise, is a bigot. 

People who are bigots often do not have a sophisticated argument or principled argument as to why they have these intolerant beliefs. They may have poor impulse control and lash out at others for some ploy or sake. They simply dislike others on a matter of principle and luxury, not intellectual honesty. A common usage of principle could be to describe someone who is against gay rights. The motives are unclear, but they are an intolerant person when it comes to sexual orientation. They may say this is due to their morals or system of beliefs, but these claims are rarely backed up. Anyone can be a bigot, from a politician to a religious person. People even claim Alec Baldwin to be a bigot in media.

People who are bigots are often members of a group who only like people in their own group. The origin of the term is of obscure origin, but comes from the Old French bigot. Bigot is two syllables – big-ot, and the pronunciation of bigot is ˈbɪɡət.

Many different languages also use words that mean bigot to refer to members of a particular group. Sometimes, these people may call others a derogatory name or derogatory term, or advocate for segregation in the first place. These people might have unsavory impulses regarding their religious opinions. You may notice that some of these different words look or sound similarly to each other. These cognates are usually formed when words have a similar origin. For example, the romance languages all stem from Latin, so these languages have many different words that are cognates for each other. This list of translations of bigot is provided by Word Sense.

  •  Mandarin: 盲信者‎ (mángxìnzhě), 執拗的人‎, 执拗的人‎ (zhíniù de rén), 抱偏見的人‎, 抱偏见的人‎ (bào piānjiàn de rén)
  •  Greek: φανατικός‎ (masc.)
  •  Russian: фана́тик‎ (masc.), мракобе́с‎ (masc.) (obscurant), изуве́р‎ (masc.), изуве́рка‎ (fem.)
  •  French: fanatique‎ (masc.) (f)
  •  Scottish Gaelic: dalm-bheachdaiche‎ (masc.)
  •  Finnish: kiihkoilija‎, fanaatikko‎; kiilusilmä‎ (derogatory)
  •  Spanish: fanático‎ (masc.)
  •  Georgian: ფანატიკოსი‎
  •  Portuguese: fanático‎ (masc.)
  •  German: Fanatiker‎ (masc.), Fanatikerin‎ (fem.)

What is the origin of the word bigot?

According to Etymonline, the word bigot has been used since the 1590s to refer to a sanctimonious person or religious hypocrite. This comes from the 12c French bigot, a word of unknown origin. This word was used as the Middle French bigot, possibly from the same origin as the Middle High German bi, Middle English bi god, or Middle Dutch bi gode though no one knows the precise Germanic language of origin. This may have been applied to a Norman person due to their frequent note of the Old English oath bī god. Others claim that the Duke Rollo of Normandy was called a bigot when he refused to kiss the king’s feet. King Charles III was giving his daughter Gisla in marriage. However, this colorful story is not backed up by scholars.

 In the 1680s, the meaning of the word extended to people other than religious zealots. The Earliest French use of the word is the name of people from southern Gaul. This created the doubtful theory that the word bigot comes from the word Visigothus. The French use of this word was a derogatory nickname for Norman, the name of a people. This leads to another theory that traces the word bigot to the Normans’ frequent use of the Germanic oath bi God. While the OED dismisses this theory,  the surnames Bigott, Bygott are attested in Normandy and in England from the 11c. This could have been a source. The only other relation could be the Spanish bigote meaning mustache, but there is little evidence aside from the fanciful version of phonetic grounds.

200 years later in Joan of Arc’s France, the English were known as goddamns and in World War I, Americans serving in France were called les sommobiches (son of a bitch). The first modern use of bigot in French is from 16c. Related words include the adjective bigoted, (adj) utilizing the suffix ed and the word bigotry (n.) using the suffix ry.

What are synonyms and antonyms of the word bigot?

There are many different words and phrases that one can use in place of the word bigot. These are called synonyms, which are words and phrases that have the same meaning as other words and phrases. Synonyms are a useful tool to help you avoid repeating yourself as well as to expand your knowledge of the English language and vocabulary..This list of synonyms for the word bigot is provided by Thesaurus

  •  sexist
  •  superpatriot
  •  persecutor
  •  stickler
  •  fiend
  •  dogmatist
  •  zealot
  •  segregationist
  •  opinionated person
  •  chauvinist
  •  sectarian
  •  racist
  •  monomaniac
  •  puritan
  •  partisan
  •  fanatic
  •  enthusiast
  •  doctrinaire
  •  diehard
  •  extremist
  •  maniac

There are also numerous different words that have the opposite meaning as the word bigot. These opposite words are known as antonyms. Antonyms are also a useful English grammatical tool that one can use to expand their vocabulary. This list of antonyms for the word bigot is provided by Thesaurus as well.

  •  humanitarian
  •  altruist
  •  good scout
  •  Good Samaritan
  •  patron
  •  helper
  •  philanthropist
  •  bleeding heart
  •  benefactor
  •  do-gooder

Overall, the word bigot means someone who is deeply involved in their own faith, own church, or matters of religion and can also refer to someone who does not accept others that are not a part of that group. The typical use of the insulting term is for people who are racial or religious supremacists. These people have a general notion of close-mindedness. The word bigot is of French name-etymology sources, and comes from a mishmash of old French and the French word bigot and has been used since the early 17th century.

Sources:

  1. bigot: meaning, origin, translation | Word Sense 
  2. HUMANITARIAN Synonyms: 33 Synonyms & Antonyms for HUMANITARIAN | Thesaurus 
  3. BIGOT Synonyms: 25 Synonyms & Antonyms for BIGOT | Thesaurus 
  4. bigot | Origin and meaning of bigot | Online Etymology Dictionary 
  5. Bigot | Definition of Bigot | Merriam-Webster