“Bigot” remarks get CNN reporter fired. What does “bigot” mean exactly? (Its origin involves cussing)

A CNN reporter was fired because of his "bigot" remarks.Every so often, surprises seem to pop out of the mouths of public figures like a Jack-in-the-Box. CNN reporter Rick Sanchez lost his job Friday for a few eyebrow-raising comments he made on the radio.

Among other things, Sanchez called the comedian and political talk show host Jon Stewart a “bigot.” The specifics of the remarks aren’t the concern of this blog. When thousands of people began searching for the definition of “bigot,” however, our lexicological sirens start to flash.

A bigot is “a person who is utterly intolerant of any differing creed, belief, or opinion.” OK, but where does this strong and negative word originate? Here’s the interesting part.

Etymologists believe the Old French version of bigot, which means “sanctimonious,” was used by the French to mock the Normans, a people who lived in France and invaded Britain in 1066. Allegedly, the Normans used the Old English expression bi God so often that the French nicknamed them bigots. This idea is backed up by the fact that the French during Joan of Arc’s time called the English the “goddamns.”

Many of our common oaths actually contain veiled religious references. For example, do you know what “gosh” and “gee” are euphemisms for? Click here to find out.

Scholars also speculate that bigot may be tied to the word beguine, now known as a dance style. Originally the term refered to an unusual 13th century woman’s religious movement led by a priest named Lambert le Bègue, otherwise known as  Lambert the Stammerer. A male version sprouted up who only used the religious guise as a pretext of making some money. The sense of “hypocrite” in bigot as well as “beg” and “beggar” may have been influenced by this bizarre episode.

So what does getting “fired” have to do with “fire?” This explanation may help.


  1. Gangbuster -  November 30, 2016 - 9:15 pm

    This word has been hijacked over the years to be used as a synonym of “racist”. I enjoy when some throw it around in fits while ultimately showing they are the true definition of a bigot. Silly Liberals.

  2. wolf tamer and tree puncher -  November 26, 2013 - 4:46 am

    Guess I’d better stop saying “gosh.” I thought it wasn’t a bad word. Where on earth can I go to find something that isn’t a curse word?

  3. soundclick -  February 4, 2011 - 5:26 pm

    What I wouldnt give to have a debate with you about this. You just say so many things that arrive from nowhere that Im fairly sure Id have a fair shot. Your blog is wonderful visually, I mean people wont be bored. But others who can see past the videos and the layout wont be so impressed together with your generic understanding of this topic.

  4. beatz -  February 4, 2011 - 4:20 pm

    Congratulations on having one of the most sophisticated blogs Ive come throughout in some time! Its just incredible how considerably you can take away from some thing simply because of how visually beautiful it’s. Youve put collectively a wonderful blog space –great graphics, videos, layout. This is surely a must-see weblog!

  5. sports handicapping service -  February 4, 2011 - 4:16 pm

    Youre so right. Im there with you. Your weblog is certainly worth a read if anyone comes throughout it. Im lucky I did because now Ive acquired a whole new view of this. I didnt realise that this issue was so important and so universal. You surely put it in perspective for me.

  6. The all american girl-next-door!!! -  October 11, 2010 - 7:10 am

    Wow!!! This is good info but I would say it is kinda dumb to me. Sorry.

  7. louis paiz -  October 5, 2010 - 9:35 am

    it is matter of oppinion i think that we have liberty of expression and because of that we not only can say what we want but also as civilized individuals tolerate other peple way of think,but now this is not only going to make worse the liberty of expression but also tolerance.

  8. mark V -  October 4, 2010 - 7:19 am

    Jon Stewart is in no way a bigot, as he is intolerant of many people with similar beliefs, as well as differing ones. ^_^

    Dont hate Creed, hate stupid.

  9. gdobei -  October 3, 2010 - 10:50 am

    Didn’t Gordon Brown make quite a similar remark when he called a Labour supporter a “bigoted woman”? Thought those are pretty much the same?

  10. L.T -  October 3, 2010 - 9:39 am

    Weebee Like To keep our mouth shut — Bigots are everywhere — and if we say the wrong thing they may hit us with a chair — and if we say the right thing we probably shouldn’t be there — and if we say the same thing someplace else in different company — Doctor Seuss Code will come and get us and turn us into a spelling bee, Jon?

  11. YOU ARE FIRED, BIGOT | BLOGCHI@mayopia.com -  October 3, 2010 - 1:44 am

    [...] If BIGOT is intolerance of anything other than your thought or team — We do watch some stereotypical commercials, sports and others, fired out of a Bigot’s Dream. — The black dude with the VOODOO doll causing the neighbor to clutch his arm and fall — When his only opposition is another team is his call. — The religious zealots are bigots with beliefs others are going to some hell. — All soldiers in a war zone are bigots just as well. — Since they’re out to kill the other guy who must be a bigot too. — Stereotypes are reasonable because very often they are observably true. — and the only way to change the opposition’s mind is by better COMMUNICATION that we do — The true BIGOT will never COMPROMISE because they have an opinion too — expressed in hateful actions not simple words so few. –>>Rupert L.T.Rhyme [...]

  12. Jon Stewart -  October 2, 2010 - 6:01 pm

    hahahhahagahahhaha he got fired this makes my day serves him right he probably doesnt read dictionary.com like me to know what a bigot even is hahahahaha

  13. taoist -  October 2, 2010 - 5:30 pm

    I suppose ‘bigot’ has no etymological relation to ‘beget.’

  14. Richard Comaish -  October 2, 2010 - 4:53 pm

    Of course the Normans conceivably had a foot in both linguistic camps at that point, could foresee the re-rendering of any significant French neologism into Old English, and had most to gain from precisely that very process, which was, in many areas, to overwhelm the language.

  15. Julie -  October 2, 2010 - 2:42 pm

    You might fix the spelling of Jon Stewart’s name.

  16. Richard Comaish -  October 2, 2010 - 12:04 pm

    Yes, this is the most convincing etymology of ‘bigot’ available – altho, is it really ‘sanctimonious’ to swear?
    But truth isn’t always more interesting than fiction, and I sneakily favour an example of ‘back-’ or ‘after the fact etymology’ here: the bigot’s indispensable fashion item has of course to be a ‘big OT’ (Old Testament). Also, the word sounds work perhaps even better in English than in French, the contrast between the important-sounding first syllable and the anticlimatic second working like a psychophonetic lampoon.


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