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Meaning of “The Jingo Spirit” phrase of Idiom, definition and synonyms use in sentence.

The Jingo Spirit

One would imagine that men have always given expression to oaths—some by heaven, others by earth and the things on the earth. Many kings and queens of history have been guilty of these stupid practices. Louis XII of France is said to have uttered as his favourite oath: “The devil take me I” Oaths commonly ascribed to certain of our English rulers are : “God’s wounds !” ; “God’s death !” ; “God’s flesh !”—corrupted into “Zounds!” “S’death!” and “Odds fish I” respectively.

An old legend says that long ago the Basques used to apostrophise their deity with the oath: “By St. Gingulph I” which later became “By St. Jainko I” This latter, though unsupported by evidence, as yet, may have a possible basis in fact; for when Edward I was seeking to subdue our stubborn neighbours, the Welsh, he employed Basque mercenaries to help him. It is said that the Basque oath became corrupted by the English soldiery into: “By Jingo I” With the revival of learning, the word “Jingo” began to creep into literature; but it is not until about the 17th century that any evidence of it is found, and then generally in satire.

The phrase came into popular use during the Russo-Turkish War (5877-8) when a noisy section of the British-populace clamoured for intervention on the side of the Turks. They were inspired by some doggerel, sung by “the great MacDermott” in music-halls (in those days the radiophones of British foreign policy), the refrain of which, elevated into a war-chant, ran thus:

We don’t want to tight, but by Jingo if we do,

We’ve got the ships, we’ve got the men, we’ve got the money too

We’ve fought the Bear before, and while we’re Britons true,

The Russians shall not have Constantinople.

These warmongers became known as “Jingoes,” and their creed “the Jingo spirit.”


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