Trend Watch

Pirro: I'm Not an 'Ideologue'

Lookups rise 6700% after TV appearance


Ideologue took the lead among the herd of slightly-obscure-words-vying-for-the-public's-attention, and was among our top lookups on July 19th, 2018, following its appearance in a sentence uttered on television by former district attorney Jeanine Pirro.

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Photo: Gage Skidmore

The word's main meaning is "an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology."

Judge Jeanine Pirro was on The View Thursday to promote her book Liars, Leakers and Liberals. And, predictably enough, there was some trouble. “I’m not an ideologue,” Pirro explained to the table. “I have been in the crime business for over three decades. I think I said that before. I know a con when I see it.”
— Rachel Dicker, Mediaite (mediaite.com), 19 July 2018

The word, which comes from the French idéologue, has been in use in English since the early 19th century. We give two definitions of the word, "an impractical idealist" and "an often blindly partisan advocate or adherent of a particular ideology." The first of these is now relatively uncommon, and the second is relatively uncomplimentary.

While we have been using ideologue for over two hundred years now, the trend of asserting that one is not, in fact, an example of this definienda is far more recent, with little, if any, print evidence of such before the middle 20th century.

I am not an ideologue, not a superheated ex-leftist propagandist for the American Way of Life.
The Spectator (London, Eng.), 22 Apr. 1966



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