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Shoneenism is a pejorative term used in Ireland to describe Irish people who are viewed as adhering to Anglophile snobbery.[1] The shoneen is characterized by their admiration for the people and culture of the English upper class, and by their corresponding disdain for native Irish customs and traditions, especially the Irish language, Gaelic games and traditional music.

Since the 1800s, the words shoneen and shoneenism have been used by Irish nationalists as terms of derision, and are always uncomplimentary towards the shoneen, as the Irish language diminutive ending 'een' (ín) when used in this manner has a loading of contempt. One suggested etymology of shoneen is "seoinín", meaning "Little John" in Irish, referring to John Bull, a national personification of the United Kingdom in general and England in particular.[2][3] John Honohan, a Land Leaguer from Donoughmore, County Cork, has been attributed to have written the following lines written in around 1890:[citation needed]

There is not in this wide world a creature so mean,
As that mongrel of mongrels, the Irish shoneen!

See also[edit]


  1. ^ .P. Moran: The Philosophy of Irish Ireland, 1905; Chap. 4 'Politics, Nationality and Snobs
  2. ^ Taylor, Miles (2004). "'Bull, John (supp. fl. 1712–)'". Oxford Dictionary of National Biography. Oxford University Press. doi:10.1093/ref:odnb/68195.
  3. ^ Gavin M. Foster (18 February 2015). The Irish Civil War and Society: Politics, Class, and Conflict. Palgrave Macmillan. pp. 71–. ISBN 978-1-137-42569-0.