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Not to be confused with Bigamy.
"Bigot" redirects here. For people named Bigot and other meanings, see Bigot (disambiguation).

In English the word "bigot" refers to a person whose habitual state of mind includes an obstinate, irrational, or unfair intolerance of ideas, opinions, ethnicities, or beliefs that differ from their own, and intolerance of the people who hold them.[1][2]


The origin of the word bigot and bigoterie (bigotry) in English dates back to at least 1598, via Middle French, and started with the sense of "religious hypocrite". This meaning still survives in Italian (bigotto) and French (bigot). The exact origin of the word is unknown, but it may have come from the German bei Gott, or the English by God.[3]

William Camden wrote that the Normans were first called bigots, when their Duke Rollo, who when receiving Gisla, daughter of King Charles, in marriage, and with her the investiture of the dukedom, refused to kiss the king's foot in token of subjection – unless the king would hold it out for that specific purpose. When being urged to do it by those present, Rollo answered hastily "No, by God", whereupon the King, turning about, called him bigot, which then passed from him to his people.[4] This is quite probably fictional,[citation needed] as Gisla is unknown in Frankish sources. It is true, however, that the French used the term bigot to abuse the Normans.[5]

The twelfth-century Norman author Wace claimed that bigot was an insult which the French used against the Normans, but it is unclear whether or not this is how it entered the English language.[6]

The French used to call the English les goddams after their favorite curse; Clément Janequin's "La Guerre,"[7] which is about the Battle of Marignano, similarly uses the Swiss German curse "bigot" (i.e. "by god!") in a context about the Protestant Swiss.

According to Henry Bradley, the meaning of bigot in the Old French was "detested foreigner," "heretic," and it is supposed that the word was a corruption of Visigot. To the Catholic Franks, the Arian Visigoths of Southern France and Spain were the objects of bitter hatred, both on religious and worldly grounds.[8]

Around 1900, the word bigot meant in French someone who has an excessive, narrow or petty religious devotion.[9]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Oxford Dictionaries". 
  2. ^ "Cambridge Dictionaries". 
  3. ^ "bigot". Online Etymology Dictionary.
  4. ^  This article incorporates text from a publication now in the public domainChambers, Ephraim, ed. (1728). "Bigot". Cyclopædia, or an Universal Dictionary of Arts and Sciences (first ed.). James and John Knapton, et al. 
  5. ^ Word Histories And Mysteries: From Abracadabra to Zeus. Houghton Mifflin Company. 2004. p. 24. ISBN 0-618-45450-0. 
  6. ^ Ayto, John (1990). Dictionary of Word Origins: The Histories of More Than 8,000 English-Language Words. Arcade Publishing. 
  7. ^ "La Guerre (La Bataille de Marignan) de Clément Janequin" (in French). Tard Bourrichon. 
  8. ^ Bradley, Henry, The Story of the Goths, XXXI, 329. G. P. Putnam's Sons, New York, 1891.
  9. ^ Le Nouveau Larousse Illustré – Dictionnaire universel encyclopédique (1897-1904 - 2nd volume, page 77)

External links[edit]

  • Media related to Bigotry at Wikimedia Commons
  • The dictionary definition of bigotry at Wiktionary
  • Quotations related to Bigotry at Wikiquote