Definition of a Bigot

Definition of a Bigot

Definition of a Bigot


A person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own group and displays hostility or contempt toward other groups.. In widely differing societies, the extent to which one is a bigot varies from society to society. However, many people who are traditionally defined as bigots in one society would be considered valuable members of society in another.


A bigot can also be someone who refuses to accept other ideas, as in politics. This word was borrowed from Middle French, but the French word is of uncertain origin. In Old French bigot was a term of abuse for Normans, and possibly related to the oath bi got "by God." In English and French, a bigot was originally a hypocrite, a person who claims to have certain moral beliefs but whose behavior doesn't match those beliefs. A bigot was specifically a hypocritical professor of religion, but the connection with the current sense of bigot is not clear. (Source:

The problem with these responses is that they redefine “bigot” away from its well-established common usage. In fact, the primary function of a word like “bigot” is to very precisely exclude more conflicted, doubtful states of mind, as in: a bigot is “a person who is obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices; especially: one who regards or treats the members of a group (as a racial or ethnic group) with hatred and intolerance” (Merriam-Webster). The obstinate devotion to certain avowed, intolerant beliefs is critical to the way that “bigot” traditionally has been used. The word has its origins in the general notion of close-mindedness: the idea is that a bigot is someone who is un-persuadable, who cannot be argued out of their beliefs. But accusing someone of being close-minded and un-persuadable requires that they adamantly hold the beliefs in question in the first place: it cannot be the case that they’re conflicted or akratic – that for example they sincerely favor gay rights as a matter of principle yet betray this principle during bouts of homophobic rage. Having unsavory impulses and poor impulse control is simply not the same thing as being closed minded and systematically intolerant. To extend the word “bigot” to someone like Baldwin is just to pervert it in order for the sake of exploiting its toxicity to his reputation. (Source: www.theatlantic.com)







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