Challenging Word of the Week: revanchism


(rih VAN shiz um) noun

Revanche, French for “revenge” has given rise to the noun revanchism, the policy of a nation seeking to regain territory lost to another nation, such as France’s attitude and policy towards Alsace and Lorraine, lost to Prussia after the Franco-Prussian War of 1870-71. The adjective describing the policy is revanchist (rih VAN shist). The revanchist attitude of the Arab states as to territory lost to Israel after the Six Day War of 1967 has played a prominent part in causing the turmoil of the Middle East.

My example: 20th century revanchism described nations seeking to regain territory in Europe and the Middle East. In the 21st century a cultural revanchism can be seen in the reconquista movement promoted by La Raza and others (perhaps nations?).

From the book, “1000 Most Challenging Words” by Norman W. Schur, ©1987 by the Ballantine Reference Library, Random House. I post a weekly “Challenging Words” definition to call more attention to this delightful book and to promote interesting word usage in the blogosphere. I challenge other bloggers to work the current word into a post sometime in the coming week. If you manage to do so, please leave a comment or a link to where I can find it. Previous words in this series can be found under the appropriate Category heading in the right-hand sidebar.

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