A person who can’t stand the
idea of others holding beliefs
different than their own.
History and Etymology
Originally meaning someone who stubbornly holds to religious beliefs or is a religious hypocrite.
The Oxford English Dictionary records the word coming from middle french in the 15th century. Possibly deriving from a phrase like “by God” in an early Germanic language. Though there is no direct evidence for this.
After the 1680s the definition of bigot began to expand beyond religious views, and grew to include anyone who obstinately, and unreasonably holds to views and beliefs to the detriment of those around them.
DescriptionHow I see the word in modern use.
Usually when I hear the word bigot used it’s being used to shut down a conversation, and dismiss people out of hand.
If you call someone a bigot you don’t actually have to address their concerns or ideas, because you’ve already decided in your mind that they are unreasonable and won’t listen.
This usage actually tells you more about the people that use the word bigot this way. What it’s telling me is that they are being intolerant and can’t stand that the people that they are shutting down have a different opinion than them. They prove that they are the bigot.
PrescriptionHow I think the word should be used.
The word bigot should never be used in conversation with the person you are applying it to. It shuts down the conversation, and ends all possibility of making a connection or changing the person's mind.
If you must use the word bigot make sure you are not being one yourself. What do you really have to be afraid of listening to people with ideas different than yours. Are you afraid that they might convince and you’ll have to give up the position you’re holding to so strongly? Are you so weak in your position that you can’t back it up?
Don’t become the thing you hate.