Frank Pierce
It's well known that a Jingo, guilty of jingoism, is an arch-nationalist who proves it by rattling his sabre.

But who were the Jingoes? I have a feeling that this came from an obscure British colonial unpleasantness. My dictionary doesn't go into the origins of the term.

And how would the rather obsolete curse, "by Jingo" come from this. Were they worth swearing by?


The original chauvanism associated with "jingo" was, indeed, Biritsh and, in particular, from the 1877-78 Turko-Russian war in which overt support for the Turks from Great Britain was supported by the following lyrics to a song*:

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.

"Jingo" is likely a euphamism for Jesus but cryptically and largely just a nonsense exclamation.
Lewis Joplin II
JINGOISM - "Shrill, aggressive superpatriotism...chauvinism...(the term) came from the English parliamentary battle in 1876, with Gladstone on one side facing Queen Victoria and Disraeli on the other. The issue was intervention in Turkey over alleged persecution of Christians there. Gladstone held that Britain should support the Christian minorities against the Turks, threatening to bundle the Turks out of Europe 'bag and baggage.' Disraeli and the Queen felt it was all a plot by the Russians to expand at the expense of Turkey. When Disraeli threatened the Russians with war if they did not halt the flow of 'volunteers' into Turkey, this refrain was heard in the music halls of London:

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!

'Jingoism' quickly became a synonym for bellicose remarks and national cockiness. Disraeli was initially forced into neutrality but when Russian invaded Turkey in 1878, he sent in the British fleet and helped arrange what he called a peace with honor..." From "Safire's New Political Dictionary" by William Safire (Random House, New York, 1993).

Frank Pierce
Sounds right to me Louis, but the little British music hall patter song which I've heard for years still leaves the question open: where did the originator of this ditty come up with the phrase "by jingo"... (if we do...)? Although, as ADSumAds notes, a lot of fluff words have been tossed around as euphemisms for Jesus or God.

The distinction between a jingoist and a chauvanist has always been a bit hazy to me, except that the latter term seemed to have derived its origins from the name of General Chauvan, a French associate of Napoleon, whereas Jingo sounds slightly British. And just perhaps a jingoist is a slightly more emotional and loud-mouthed chauvanist. Dunno!

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