List of political epithets

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This is a list of pejorative political epithets; meaning, words or phrases used to mock or insult certain political views and their supporters. An explanation is also given for each term's intended meaning and original source (where known). The list is not comprehensive, and perhaps never will be, due to the multitude of political epithets that have been and continue to be created. Please note that the majority of these epithets are inherently biased terms and some are considered highly inflammatory.

The list is alphabetical.

Abortion on Demand

U.S.: Term used by opponents of legalized abortion to refer to the Roe v. Wade and Doe v. Bolton rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court. [1]

Activist judges

U.S.: Judges whose decisions are "extra-constitutional," overturn traditional legal interpretations, or who craft decisions to produce a specific outcome. Most commonly described as judges who "legislate from the bench."

Aid and comfort to the enemy

U.S.: Term used mainly by conservatives for people that are perceived as supporting the enemies of the United States through their actions and their abilities to influence others through the media. This term was often expressed towards the liberals that dominate the entertainment industry and electronic media. Derives from the definition of traitor within the U.S. Constitution.


U.S.: Term used by some Pro-choice individuals (advocates of legalized abortion) to refer to those that title themselves as "Pro-life" (opponents of legalized abortion). They may choose not to use "pro-life" as an objection to the idea that "life" is legally in question. Those who share this belief feel that a fertilized egg or embryo does not legally constitute "life". Also, they may wish to emphasize the view that the issue in question is a woman's right to make choices regarding her own body.


A political epithet when used to refer to those who support immigration reduction but are not opposed to legal immigration. This is distinct from the correct usage of Anti-immigrant, when it refers to those who denigrate, fear, or oppose immigrants. Anti-immigration is sometimes used interchangeably, although it has a distinct meaning.

Anti-Life or Pro-Death

U.S.: Term used by some Pro-life individuals (opponents of legalized abortion) to refer to those that title themselves as "Pro-choice" (advocates of legalized abortion). Holding the view that the issue in question is the life of an unborn human being, pro-life individuals may wish to draw parallels between the pro-choice position and advocacy of murder and infanticide.


Sometimes used to describe other societies that the speaker considers analogous to South Africa in the Apartheid Era, such as American segregation before the American Civil Rights Movement (1955-1968). See Apartheid Outside South Africa.


From Soviet era Russian terminology, meaning simply a member of the political organizational apparatus of Soviet Russia; it now has a meaning in English which implies a bureaucratic mentality and/or slavish (to the point of mindlessness) devotion to a cause (or a political politician). A recent example from the Washington Times: "Mr. McCain said commission Vice Chairman Ellen Weintraub is an "apparatchik" of the Democratic Party ..."


Term used by Neonazis and other Antisemites as an acronym for the Association of Spurious Survivors of the Holocaust and Other Liars. Coined by antisemite and holocaust denier David Irving to ridicule the testimony of holocaust victims. [2]

Baby killer

Term used by some members of the left in the 1960s and 1970s, to denigrate military personnel. Later, some in the anti-abortion movement used the same term against doctors who perform abortions, and against other supporters of legal abortion.

Banana republic

Pejorative term for a small, often Latin American or Carribean country, politically unstable, dependent on limited agriculture, and ruled by a small, wealthy and corrupt clique. Coined by O. Henry, American humorist and short story writer in reference to Honduras. "Republic" in his time was often a euphemism for a dictatorship, while "banana" implied an easy reliance on basic agriculture and backwardness in the development of modern industrial technology.

Bible basher or Bible thumper

Someone who tries in a forceful or enthusiastic way to persuade other people to believe in the Christian religion and the Bible.

An evangelical or fundamentalist Christian who believes the Bible is the inspired Word of God and that its enclosed laws and precepts should strongly guide public policy.

Big Business Party

A term used to refer to the U.S. Democratic Party and U.S. Republican Party as being two different wings of the same party, implying that the U.S. has a one-party government whose main concern is not The People but corporate profits.

Blame America-Firster

Pejorative term used to describe those Americans that (allegedly) consistently place all blame for all problems on the United States.

Bleeding-heart liberal

U.S.: Used by conservatives to refer to liberals, in particular those that stress emotionalism over rationalism (e.g. Ted Kennedy) - most often people liberal on social issues such as the death penalty or the drug war. Conservatives see these people as "soft on crime," thus allegedly enabling crime and causing harm to society.


CAN: A derisive name for members of the separatist Bloc Québécois in Québec, Canada. Based on a derogatory term used for the character Charlie Brown in Charles Schultz's comic strip Peanuts.

Bloody Shirt

U.S.: Used in late 19th Century by Republicans , implying that the Democrats were responsible for provoking the U.S. Civil War. A speaker or writer expounding this viewpoint was said to "wave the bloody shirt." Some claim the term originates from a scene in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar in which Marc Antony delivers the eulogy after Caesar was betrayed and murdered by Marcus Junius Brutus, Gaius Cassius Longinus, and other members of the Roman Senate.


U.S.: Used to refer to wealthy New Englanders with "old money", who are usually of WASP or old New York Dutch descent. They tend to be fiscally conservative, but may be socially liberal (see libertarianism).

Blue Dog Democrats

U.S.: Term frequently used to describe Democrats that maintain their party affiliation, but frequently vote for Republicans or Independents. The Blue Dog Coalition is allegedly a group of congressional representatives who hold this viewpoint; it was a coalition that came into existence in the mid-1990s. Cynical conservatives claim the organization exists only as a cover for liberals serving in conservative districts.

Blue Liberal

CAN: Term for a member of the Liberal Party of Canada who leans farther center/right than the average member.

Bolshevik, Bolshevism

U.S.: Derogatory term applied to members of the far left. It implies a connection with Communism, particularly the Russian variety.

The phrase was also used in Nazi Germany against enemies of Nazism, for example in Nazi propaganda posters.

See also: Commie, Communist, Judeo-bolshevism

Borrow and Spend Republican

U.S.: Used by liberals to label conservatives as favoring a cycle of continually reducing taxes without corresponding restraint in government spending, the result being "deficits as far as the eye can see." Contrast Tax and Spend Liberal.

Bourgeois, Bourgeoisie

When used neutrally, the term refers to the middle classes in a capitalist society. In Marxian political economics, the bourgeoisie becomes a capitalist class opposed to the proletariat in the class struggle. Some Communists use "bourgeois" as an insult; those bourgoise who are perceived to collaborate with the upper class elites are often called its lackeys, as in "capitalist running dogs and their imperialist lackeys". The term is also used by upper class elites to demean those they see as beneath them; for example "her taste is so bourgeois."


U.S, civil war era: Term used by opponents of slavery to denote the various groups of pro-slavery or simply opportunist bandits and militants who raided and killed people in Kansas and Missouri in the Bleeding Kansas period.

Capitalist Roader

People's Republic of China: Used against Deng Xiaoping by radicals in the Chinese communist party (including the Gang of Four) in order to purge him 3 times; he was later rehabilitated into the party thrice and led China in the 1980s and 1990s.

Capitalist Pig

Used by anti-capitalists to refer to capitalists, implying that those who enrich themselves under capitalism are greedy as pigs.

Card-carrying member of the ACLU

U.S.: Used most often by conservatives to insult liberals who may advocate policies similar to that of the American Civil Liberties Union. In the 1988 presidential election, the then-Vice President George H.W. Bush called then-Governor Michael Dukakis a "card-carrying member of the ACLU," which Dukakis proudly acknowledged. [3] The term now serves as a jocular recruitment slogan for the ACLU. [4]


Post-American Civil War U.S.: Original usage by white Southerners for the Northerners that came south after the Civil War, viewed as "carpetbaggers" - opportunists and exploiters bent on grabbing economic and political benefits. Term originated from a popular form of baggage carried by these individuals, a type of large bag made from cheap carpet fabric. This type of bag was also often used to transport money in train payroll deliveries.[5]

Contemporary Usage in U.S.: Politicians who move to a new jurisdiction in order to meet a residency requirement for holding public office. Senator Hillary Clinton is frequently decried as an Arkansas carpetbagger in New York state.

U.K.: Supporters of the conversion of mutual building societies into banks purely for reasons of personal financial gain.

Champagne socialist

U.K.: The phrase refers to politicians who are perceived as having socialist tendencies in their political views and policies but disregard socialist ideals in their daily life. The term generally is used as an attack by opposing politicians to portray and ridicule their opponents as hypocritical.

Similar terms in other countries include limousine liberal, latte liberal or East-coast liberal (United States), chardonnay socialist (Australia), and gauche caviar (France).

Chauvinist Pig

Used to describe a man as having a prejudiced belief in the superiority of his own gender; often extended to describe a man as one who hates women, or to one who believes in different roles and standards for the two genders. Also Pig, Male Chauvinist, and Male Chauvinist Pig.

The original usage of this term (which is in recent resurgence) refers to an arrogant favorite of Napoleon, his loyal follower Nicolas Chauvin, a French ultra-nationalist.

Cheese-eating surrender monkeys

U.S.: A provocative phrase used to mock France for their famous surrenders in the Franco-Prussian War, World War II, North Africa, and French Indochina, and for their reputation as gourmets. Coined by writers of the animated television show, The Simpsons, the phrase was repeated by the political right in the United States and the United Kingdom in the run-up to the Iraq War, especially by Jonah Goldberg.


U.S. An epithet used to criticize a politician, bureaucrat, or commentator who votes for war, supports war, commands a war, or develops war policy, but has not personally served in the military. More pointedly may refer to men who were of draft age during the Vietnam War but avoided service, yet later professed support for that war. Also a sexual term for those persons that desire underaged sexual partners, such as Roman Polanski.


A derogatory term referring to the perceived imperialistic policies of the U.S. president George W. Bush (called a chimpanzee by some leftist bloggers) and his administration.

Commie, Communist

This term in and of itself became a slur during the Cold War. Also "commie pinko" and "commie pinko fag". [6]

Communist Sympathizer

A person sympathetic to the Communist Party and/or the Soviet Union during the Cold War but not an outright Communist. These persons were seen as apologists for Communism, or as "soft" on Communism. Probably very similar in meaning but more insulting than "Fellow Traveller". Widely used in the USA and other countries. Sometimes shortened to "Comsymp".


A term used by opponents of the new Conservative Party of Canada, by its liberal and left-wing opponents and also by former supporters of the Progressive Conservative Party of Canada who opposed the merger with the right-wing Canadian Alliance which created the new conservative party.

Conchie, conchy

UK: A common disparaging term in the UK during the World War I for "conscientious objector". Also an ethnic slur used by Carribean blacks for whites.

Corporate Feudalism or Neofeudalism

A term used to describe policies of various right-wing politicians, particularly those in the United States Republican Party, that are seen as radically increasing the wealth and income distribution gap between the rich and the poor while increasing the power of the rich and decreasing the power of the poor. See also: Neofeudalism and wealth condensation

Corporate Press

A term used by the left to refer to the news media, especially in the United States (where most of it is privately owned; often by major corporations and holding companies), alleging a pro-corporate or conservative bias. Compare with Liberal Press

Corporate welfare

Corporate welfare is a term used by opponents of special privileges given to corporations such as tax breaks or subsidies. It is implied that the corporations are less deserving than the poor, the traditional recipients of welfare. The recipients of corporate welfare are sometimes called corporate welfare bums.


In neutral use, the term refers to an active opponent of a certain revolution of one kind or another. As an epithet, it is used by communists to refer to both active and passive opponents of a communist revolution.

Crony & Cronyism

Refers to partiality to long-standing friends, especially by appointing them to public office without regard for their qualifications. (based on the Greek khronios/khronos meaning long time)

Crony Capitalist

Describing a capitalist whose success in business depends on an extremely close relationship with state institutions of politics and government. It may be exhibited by favoritism in the distribution of legal permits, government grants, special tax breaks, and so forth.


A prefix used to imply that a person secretly holds certain political beliefs. The most common examples of this usage are probably cryptocommunist (a closet communist) and cryptofascist (a closet fascist).

Culture war

This term has been used to describe ideologically-driven and often strident confrontations typical of American public culture and politics since the 1960s, but especially beginning in the 1980s. it is more often used by the American right than the American left. The term evokes the 19th-century German Kulturkampf.

DemocRATs, Demoncrat, Dumb-o-crats, etc.

U.S.: Purposeful mispellings and witty takes on party names have been prevalent on the U.S. internet in the past few years, particularly when elections are near. See List of pejorative political puns.


A rather harsh term for members of the Democratic Party in the USA. Suggests that Democrats whore themselves out.

Demoncracy, demonocracy

A term used by opponents of democracy, etymology based on combining "demon" with "democracy" suggesting connection with satanic forces.


U.S.: Conservatives have branded U.S. Democratic Party opponents of the 2003 Iraq War as "traitors" in the War on Terrorism and thus referred to them as dhimmicrats (from the Arabic word dhimmi - a protected class of non-muslims) — variations include Dummycrat, Demonrat, and Dumbacrat.

Dirty Hippie

U.S.: Used by conservatives to refer to certain liberals. Comes from the poor personal hygiene and mode of dress of many hippies during the 1960s and 1970s, including unshaved beards, long hair, bare feet, obesity or no bras. It is also based on the tendency to wear too much Patchouli Oil, the smell of which can be overpowering.


Refers to devout listeners of right-wing pundit Rush Limbaugh, typically in total agreement with the talk-show host. Call-in "Dittoheads" say the phrase "Mega Dittoes" in order to avoid repeating everything the previous caller had said. Liberals use the phrase to mean a person that mindlessly repeats everything Limbaugh has to say.


U.S.: Term used by civil rights activists to describe Southern Democrats who enacted and enforced Jim Crow laws, and obstructed equal rights for African Americans and racial integration. It derives from a Democratic splinter party who opposed civil rights legislation in 1948. They called themselves the States Rights Party, but the popular term was Dixiecrats.

East-coast liberal

U.S.: refers to one or more stereotypes of left-leaning denizens of the Eastern Seaboard, particularly journalists or academics. As used by some, it could be a thinly-disguised codeword for "Jewish liberal". During the 2004 election, John Kerry was called a "Massachusetts liberal", which carried the same connotations as limousine liberal or champagne socialist in addition to negative connotations among conservatives about Massachusetts' gay marriage policy.

Environmentalist Wacko, Econazi and Ecoterrorists

U.S.: Environmentalist wacko, Econazi and Ecoterrorists are phrases that right-wing talk show host Rush Limbaugh and others use to describe what he considers to be extremely radical environmentalists. See also: Environmentalist Wacko, Econazi and Ecoterrorists

Err America

U.S.: refers to the left-wing radio outlet Air America Radio, suggesting it errs or is in error [7]


A play on the word "bureaucrat", applied mainly to those who work in the institutions of the European Union (especially the European Commission). It is overwhelmingly used in a negative sense. The term "Men from Brussels" is a synonym used by the Tories in the United Kingdom.


A term designating either of the two far ends of the traditional political spectrum. Often used as an insult to imply that one's opponents hold unusual views that should not receive popular support.


Originally, a member of the Spanish Falange, now sometimes used as a synonym for "fascist".


This term was initially coined by Benito Mussolini to describe his right-wing authoritarian ideology, and was later adopted by Adolf Hitler. After World War II, fascism as an ideology was discredited throughout most of the Western world (largely due to Nazi war crimes such as the Holocaust). Subsequently, very few individuals self-described as fascist, and the term was used mostly as a pejorative political epithet directed against political opponents of the speaker, whose policies are perceived as resembling those of the historical fascists in their authoritarian, racist, or anti-Semitic nature. Political commentator George Orwell argued that "as used, the word ‘Fascism’ is almost entirely meaningless... I have heard it applied to farmers, shopkeepers, Social Credit, corporal punishment, fox-hunting, bull-fighting, the 1922 Committee, the 1941 Committee, Kipling, Gandhi, Chiang Kai-Shek, homosexuality, Priestley's broadcasts, Youth Hostels, astrology, women, dogs and I do not know what else." Because of the wide variety of contradictory usages, the word "fascist" often carries little specific meaning.


Largely used in American Politics by parties describing the election rhetoric of their opponents. It has been used by the Republicans in response to allegations they they wish to eliminate Social Security, and it has been used by the Democrats, particularly Howard Dean in 2003, in regards to the impetus for the War in Iraq and the War on Terror.


A pun on pederast and Federalism used by French politician Jean Marie Le Pen against those who want the European Union to become a federation.

Fellow traveller

U.S.: Term used to describe those who were linked with communists, during the McCarthy Era. Conservative artist Norman Rockwell made a pun of this phrase with a painting of two children walking in the country, entitled "Fellow Travellers"


U.S.: Feminazi is a term coined by conservative radio host Rush Limbaugh to refer to women he perceives as the hardest-core feminists. To Limbaugh, a "feminazi" is a woman to whom "the most important thing in life is seeing to it that as many abortions as possible are performed". The term "Feminista" is also used by other political pundits.

Others now use the term more loosely to describe almost any active and militant feminist. The term is also sometimes used to describe politically correct movements, such as those who draw attention to allegedly sexist language in daily life.


One who "sits on the fence", ie, refuses to commit himself to either one side of a political issue or the other, preferring to waver in the middle. (Also a term for bisexuals - see also see List of sexual slurs.)


A derisive term for the Ontario Liberal Party government under Premier Dalton McGuinty, who were widely judged to have broken a great many election promises.

Fiberal has also been used to describe the federal Liberal Party of Canada after the Sponsorship scandal.

Fifth Column, Fifth Columnist

(Global): Term for a group of people who clandestinely undermines from within, a larger group to which it is expected to be loyal, such as a nation.

The term is also used in reference to a population who are assumed to have loyalties to countries other than in which they reside. During World War II, the Japanese American internment in the US was justified on the basis that those of Japanese ancestry living on the west coast would act as a fifth column. Today some on the Right in Western countries see radical Islamists as being a fifth column of a global Islamist movement, with its notion of a transnational Umma. In Taiwan, some people suspect there is a fifth column from mainland China working to undermine the cause of Taiwan independence.

The term originated with a 1936 radio address by Emilio Mola, a Nationalist general during the 1936-39 Spanish Civil War. As four of his army columns moved on Madrid, the general referred to his militant supporters within the capital as his "fifth column," intent on undermining the Republicans from within.

Fourth Reich

U.S., Germany: Used by the political left to refer to Neo-Nazis (in Germany) or political conservatives generally, especially those actually in power (in U.S.). The term is intended to convey the idea that those so characterized share common views, at least to some degree, with the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler.


U.S. Term used for active users of conservative blog Free Republic[8]. Also used by liberal bloggers (and others on the US political left) as a generic term to describe right wing political activists (whether associated with Free Republic or not). Much like the term yankee; whether or not freeper is a pejorative term depends on who is using it.

Gang of ....

U.S.: The term Gang of .... (insert number) refers to the Gang of Four, close associates of Mao, who ruled the People's Republic of China after his death. They were overthrown and arrested shortly thereafter. The term can be used to refer to political operatives who are overzealous and ultra-orthodox. In the United Kingdom, the principal founders of the Social Democratic Party were also known as the 'Gang of Four'.

Gay agenda

U.S.: Phrase used by conservatives to oppose any new extension of legal rights and privileges to homosexuals, on the grounds that homosexuals are seen as working gradually to abolish all sexual morality.

Girlie Men

U.S.: Term used by then California gubernatorial candidate Arnold Schwarzenegger to describe his political opponents as "Economic Girlie Men." This term was first popularized by faux bodybuilders Hans and Franz on Saturday Night Live. As governor, Schwarzenegger has not repeated the phrase.

Godless communist

U.S.: Used by some religious believers, mostly Christian conservatives, as a descriptive term for self professed communists, based on Marx's famous comment that "Religion is the sigh of the oppressed creature, the heart of a heartless world, and the soul of soulless conditions. It is the opium of the people." [9] Most communist states have actively tried to discourage organized religion (and often persecuted religious leaders), though only Albania banned religion outright. The "Society of the Godless" was an actual organization in the Soviet Union for a time. There was also religious communism movement in the 19th-Century that sought to establish utopian communities in the United States.

Government cheese

US: Term used by opponents of redistribution of wealth as a synonym for the government's alleged largess. This term is also used by supporters of redistribution of wealth as a synonym for the government's alleged parsimony. Also used in urban slang to refer to people on welfare (surplus cheese is disbursed to the needy in the U.S.). See "government handouts."

Government handouts

Term used by opponents of wealth redistribution to imply that unearned entitlements are unjust. Also used by opponents of corporate subsidies to imply that tax relief and aid to for-profit corporations is unjust. See also: Corporate welfare


Epithet used to refer to West Coast leftists, based on granola's constituency of fruits, nuts, and flakes. This food was popularized in the U.S. by members of the 1960s & 1970s counterculture, also lending a leftist slant on the term.

Greenie or greeny

An environmentalist or Green party supporter.


CAN: A colloquial term for a member of the Liberal Party of Canada.

Gun grabber

U.S.: An accusatory term used by gun owners to refer to gun control advocates or opponents of legal gun ownership. See Gun politics in the United States.

Gun nut

U.S.: An accusatory term used by advocates of gun control or opponents of legal gun ownership to characterize gun owners as irrational and obsessive. See Gun politics in the United States

Heterophobia, Homosexist

Homosexism is a belief that homosexuality is the only natural sexual orientation; heterophobia was coined by analogy with psychological phobias to mean a dislike of heterosexuality. Both terms are used to disparage persons and organizations that oppose straight rights.


Used by virtually all sides of all debates with the hope of discrediting opposing viewpoints. For example, with regards to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, right-wingers claim that anti-war activists are similar to those who appeased Hitler in the 1930s, while left-wingers claim that supporters of the war are similar to those who helped Hitler. Like "fascist," the strong connotations of "Hitler" often obstruct substantive dialogue.

See also Godwin's Law.

Homophobia, Heterosexist

Heterosexism is a belief that heterosexuality is the only natural sexual orientation; homophobia was coined by analogy with psychological phobias to mean a dislike of homosexuality. Both terms are used to disparage persons and organizations that oppose gay rights.

Human Shill

Contemptuous pun based on "human shield." Term relates to "human shields", people who abandoned their mission in Iraq when they realized they might be placed in harm's way.


Used by warbloggers (weblogging supporters of the Iraqi War) to imply that some of their opponents are idiots. It is applied to people who are from both sides of the political spectrum, for example, Pat Robertson and Dennis Kucinich

International Jewish Conspiracy, International Jewry

An idea particularly favored by Hitler, Henry Ford, Charles Lindbergh, other anti-Semites, and many Arab governments, that said that there was an international conspiracy of Jews to dominate the rest of mankind. The Protocols of the Elders of Zion, allegedly written by Jews, has been used as evidence - even though it was actually a proven forgery written by a German agitator and widely used by the Okhranka (the secret police of Tsarist Russia). International Jewry is occasionally used non-pejoratively to refer to Jews worldwide, e.g. [10].


A term used to suggest that certain variants of Islamist extremism have fascist or totalitarian aspects. Proponents claim that various Islamist political movements call for the imposition of Islamic law, considered totalitarian, misogynistic and racist by critics. [11]. Its critics argue that it is merely used to smear Islam with the negative connotations of the term fascist [12][13]. Dr. Juan Cole has described the term as "desecration and a form of hate speech" [14].

See: Neofascism and religion#Islam, Islamofascism (term)

JewNazi, Judeofascist, Judeo-Nazi, Zionazi

Terms used by particularly vocal opponents of Israel and Zionism and some anti-Semites [15] [16] [17] [18][19] [20] [21] who advocate the view that aspects of Judaism, Zionism, or Israeli government policy towards Arabs and Muslims are fascist or similar to behavior thought typical of Nazis. The European Monitoring Centre on Racism and Xenophobia (EUMC), part of the Council of Europe, has stated that comparing "contemporary Israeli policy to that of the Nazis" is one example of the way "in which anti-Semitism manifests itself with regard to the State of Israel."[22] In 2003, Google News described the term "Zionazi" as a "degrading, hateful slur" and refused to index San Francisco Independent Media Center (SF Indymedia) because it used it; SF Indymedia agreed that it "could be considered hate speech. "[23]

A widely disseminated fraudulent quote claims that Ariel Sharon described himself with the epithet "Judeo-Nazi"; see Ouze Merham.

See also: Neofascism and religion#Judaism


Term used in Nazi Germany to refer to Jews and communists, implying that the communist movement served Jewish interests and/or that all Jews were communists.

Kangaroo court

International: Pejorative term for allegedly sham legal proceedings where the verdict or finding was predetermined.


From the quote "modern-day KKK ... the Kennedy-Kerry-Klan," by Gerald Walpin, at a luncheon of The Federalist Society, on 10 November 2005 .

Knee Jerk Reactionary

Term used by the left for persons that object to any shift or drift to the left in public life.

Know-Nothing Party

U.S.: Pejorative term for the United States American Party, an 1850s political party that was opposed to the United States Free Soil Party, the United States Whig Party, the Democrats, and the Republicans. When asked about its activities or agenda, members were directed by their leadership to answer "I know nothing," providing seed for an insulting double entendre.


A term used by various political groups to describe low level functionaries serving the interests of their enemies.

Left Coast

U.S.: Term used by political pundit Rush Limbaugh and some other conservatives when referring to the many liberals who live on the West Coast of the United States.

Liberal press

Term is used by many conservative commentators accusing the press, especially in the United States, of having a liberal bias. Compare with Corporate Press.

Limousine Liberal

See Limousine liberal. See "a strategy to frame the word "liberal" as "something akin to traitor" in the media." Newt_Gingrich.

Lincoln Logs

Gay members of the Republican party, especially those that support theories that Lincoln was gay. From the name of the gay Republican group, the Log Cabin Republicans.

Loony Left

UK: A term referring to the far left, principally used by newspapers of the United Kingdom in the 1980s to refer to the Labour Party, especially in local government, accompanying accusations that some Labour-run councils seemed more interested in advancing left-wing positions on sexism, racism and gay rights than on providing services to local residents.

the Man

A term associated with the counterculture and used to describe higher authority. This "Man" does not usually refer to a specific individual as such, but instead to the government, leaders of large corporations and other authority figures; its meaning is pejorative. "The Man" is colloquially defined as the figurative person who controls our world. The Man is also often used as a symbol of racial oppression.

The phrase "the Man is keeping me down" is commonly used to describe perceived oppression, but in modern times it is most often used facetiously in an ironically resigned fashion. The phrase "stick it to the Man" encourages resistance to authority, and essentially means "fight back" or "resist"; however, this is also mostly used facetiously.


U.S.: Term used by some feminists to refer to male members of the left wing who hold fast to several conservative viewpoints on women, and their worth and role in society, tending to the misogynist.


U.S.: Term used by opponents of the feminist movement to describe outspoken feminist activists, especially those who are lesbians.


When used as an epithet, it is most often a term used by some moderate leftists to disparage the tactics of the far left as reminiscent of the extreme measures undertaken by Mao Zedong. See also "Stalinist."


U.S.: Used to refer to the aggressive investigation of those who held or were said to support Communist agendas based on associations with Communist or leftist groups. In a more general sense, it refers to attempts to remove someone from their position by invoking real or alleged past political associations (a reference to Senator Joseph McCarthy).


France: Term for the extreme left of France. The name is derived from their seats on the Legislative Assembly in Revolutionary France. The most extreme members of the Left sat in the highest seats on the left side of the chamber. As such, they became known as "Montagnards" (Mountain dwellers in English). Correspondingly this is also the origin of the political terms "Left" and "Right", as the more left leaning members of the assembly sat on the left side of the chamber, and vice versa.

The name is also used to denote the Degar, a minority ethnic group in the highlands of Vietnam which took an anti-Hanoi stance during the Vietnam War; however it is not pejorative in this sense.


Moonbat is a political epithet coined in 2002 by Perry de Havilland of a libertarian weblog. It was originally a play on the last name of George Monbiot, a columnist for The Guardian. Although the term enjoys great currency in the libertarian and conservative blogosphere as an all-purpose insult for modern liberals, peace protestors, and other ideological opponents, that was not the original intention as it was just as often used to describe the more extreme elements of libertarian or paleo-conservative thought.

According to de Havilland, a moonbat is "someone on the extreme edge of whatever their -ism happens to be". Adriana Cronin defines the term as "someone who sacrifices sanity for the sake of consistency". It was intended to be used in reference to people on both the political Left and Right and all shades between.

The epithet is often rendered as Barking Moonbat. Similarly, former Vice President Al Gore is sometimes referred to as "Emperor of the Moon" in the animated series Futurama.


Journalists that expose unpleasant information, usually about powerful people, big business, or organizations; often in a sensationalist manner. Derives from a quote by Theodore Roosevelt about early 1900s journalists like Ida Tarbell and others. Some "muckrakers" take pride in the title despite its sometimes pejorative usage. See also: Yellow Journalism

National Socialists

Term sometimes used by conservatives instead of the more common "Nazi" appellation to cast negative aspersions on liberals and socialists. Usage is based on the fact that the Nazi Party was officially named the "National Socialist German Workers Party", despite its opposition to socialism. The term is sometimes just used in place of "Nazi" to try to avoid hyperbole or potential violations of Godwin's Law (see below). It should be noted that although some economists agree that the Nazis built an economy based on socialist principles, they imprisoned and killed communists and rival socialists during their rule. See Nazism and socialism.

Nattering Nabobs of Negativity

U.S. From a famous quote of Vice President Spiro Agnew decrying what he described as the liberal bias of the mainstream media. More recently, American conservatives have used the term to represent the same perceived over-representation of left wing viewpoints in the media. The term was penned by William Safire, then a White House speechwritter.


The term "Nazi" is overused by people of all political stripes to describe or insult their opposition. The multiple atrocities and racist ideology that the Nazis followed have made them notorious in popular culture as well as history. Today, the term "Nazi" is often used to describe individuals or groups of people who try to force an unpopular or extreme agenda on the general population, and also commit crimes or violent actions against others without remorse. The term is also often simply used as an all-purpose insult. The modern overuse of "Nazi" is best expressed by Godwin's Law, in which any debate is said to be lost by the first party to use the terms "Nazi" or "Hitler" in their argument.

Neoconservative, Neocon

U.S.: When many prominent members of the George W. Bush administration were identified as neoconservatives by the press, the terms "neoconservative" and "neocon" became ephitets applied to the Bush administration and its supporters, regardless of the more precise meaning of the term. It was exploited into obscure meanings based on opposition partisan perceptions of a rift in the GOP.

Variants include "Neocon Death Cult" (used extensively on Air America Radio, particularly on its Morning Sedition program), "neocunt" (particularly in reference to the right-wing columnist Ann Coulter), "neoconartist," "neoconazi," and "neo-crazy."


U.S.: Sometimes used as a disparaging term for persons who look favorably upon the American South or southern culture. Used for groups and persons that advocate certain positions associated with the Confederate States of America such as State's rights and preservation of traditional culture. (See article: Neo-confederate)

Neoliberal, Neoliberalism

When used neutrally, the term refers to economic policies in favor of deregulation, globalization and laissez-faire capitalism. It is often used pejoratively by opponents of such policies, and is interchanged with:


CAN: Refers to the repeated attempts by Quebec separatists to pass a referendum in favor of independence.

New Age

This epithet for impractical political and social philosophies that emerge from emotionalism and spirituality, rather than rational, philosophical and scientific views, is sometimes used pejoratively as "New Age." Use by religious conservatives, scientists and others has caused the term "New Age" to sometimes have a derogatory connotation.

Orthodox Taliban

Serbia and Montenegro (and, possibly, other Orthodox Christian countries): Those who want to introduce to everyday life religious practices supposedly in similar way as Taliban did, for example, religious education to schools or ban of abortion.

Outside Agitators

U.S.: 1960s Term used by Southern Democrats to refer to activists from outside their states sent to help African-Americans exercise their civil rights, with the implication that "our Negros" were perfectly happy and content with their lot in life before they started being stirred up by the "outside agitators". Typically applied to instigators of the activity, such as organizers, leaders, and so forth. The term briefly saw use outside the south (e.g. the Kent State University demonstration in 1970).


A merging of the words mujahideen and pajamas, used by members of the traditional media to describe bloggers attempting to publicise errors and inadequacies in traditional reporting, especially on political issues. The most notable example of this was uncovering by bloggers of fraudulent memos (the Killian documents) used by CBS in a story during the 2004 U.S. Presidential Campaign. Pajamahadeen was chosen as one of the American Dialect Society's words of the year for 2004. Some bloggers use the title about themselves to give the impression that they are a kind of uprising against the mainstream media.


Originating in the U.S. it is applied to advocates of U.S. withdrawal from the Vietnam War, to pacifists in general, and later to advocates of Western rapprochement with the Soviet Union during the Cold War, for instance through arms control. The Russian -nik makes reference to beatnik, implying the individual is impractical in outlook, but particularly the Soviet satellite Sputnik, implying the individual is a communist or sympathetic to that cause.

Peoples' Republic of California

Used by conservatives in California to describe the state itself, known for being liberal-leaning, or certain smaller cities in California known to be decidedly liberal such as Berkeley, Santa Monica, and West Hollywood. Derived from the official names of several Communist states, including the Peoples' Republic of China, and from the California Republic.

Boulder, Colorado is also often referred to as a Peoples' Republic, as is Madison, Wisconsin. In the United Kingdom, the Conservative MP Irvine Patnick coined the phrase 'Socialist Republic of South Yorkshire' to highlight the predominance of the left-wing of the Labour Party in the county.


CAN: A member of the Parti Québécois in the Canadian province of Québec. Also, an adjective meaning "pertaining to the Parti Québécois".


A term used by some people, mostly on the left, to refer to police officers and other authority figures. May be derived from George Orwell's dystopian novel Animal Farm.


A term used by some people, mostly feminists, to refer to sexist males, e.g. male chauvinist pigs.

Pink Lady

A term coined by Richard Nixon to describe those he considered "Soft on Communism," particularly Helen Gahagan.


Used to refer to a person allegedly sympathetic to a Communist Party and/or the Soviet Union during the Cold War but not an outright Communist. Often used by people on the right to describe leftists. Similar in meaning to "Fellow traveller". The identification of Communism with "Socialist" red (and with red being the primary color of the flag of the Soviet Union) led to such Cold War phrases as "the Red Menace" and "Red China".

Hence "Pinko," pink being a light red. Also "pinko commie." Also "commie pinko fag". [24]

"Parlor pink" (or "parlor radical") was a term used in the mid-20th century to describe wealthy leftists supposedly sympathetic to communism, especially those working in the film industry.

Planned Economy

An alleged euphemism for a centrally administrated (centralized) economy run by political elites, rather than private capital.

Political correctness

Political correctness is an effort to modify language and behavior in an attempt to make it less offensive to certain groups. As an epithet, it implies that such an effort is so broad or excessive as to stifle uninhibited expression or marginalize historically-dominant groups. It is traditionally an epithet used against groups on the left, but the term "right-wing political correctness" or "right-wing PC" has become used in the 1990s and 2000s as well.

Poverty pimp

A derogatory label for an individual who profits by acting as an "advocate" for his ethnic group or social class, without having their best interests at heart. (purported example - Al Sharpton)


U.S.: An insult used by the Pro-life movement against people who support the legal right to abortion. The term is meant to imply that those who support legalized abortion necessarily support and even encourage the practice of abortion. The even more pejorative term "pro-death" is used in some circles. However it should be noted that some people use this as an accident instead of Pro-choice.


Race-baiters allegedly abuse charges of racism as political epithets in an attempt to stifle debate, stir up controversy, or to silence political opponents.

Race Traitor

A term used by racists for those who are of their own "race", but who don't share their views, or who work against their interests, or who have intimate relationships with members of other "races". [25] Also a self-referential term for persons who seek to abolish the white race and "whiteness."


Traditionally, one who discriminates or is prejudiced based on race. As a pejorative, anyone who disagrees with a controversial policy or idea that seeks to benefit a minority race, such as Affirmative Action. Also occasionally applied to those advocating such policies or ideas, with the implication that they are racist against the majority race. The connotation has become similar to that of Nazi in race-related discussions.


Originally part of an analogy with the roots of a plant (latin: Raddix), in Britain in the 1830s it referred to those who wanted to change the voting system by starting afresh, rather than incremental reforms. It is now used in relation to any topic and usually describes a person or a policy to the extreme left of the political mainstream, though it may describe people or policies of any political bent with whom the speaker disagrees. A radical is certainly not a conservative, but may wish to reform policy in a right-wing direction.

"Radical" — often shortened to "rad" — became a compliment when used by members of Generation X in the 1980s, its closest synonym being "cool."

Radical Republican

Derogatory term applied to the supporters of Abraham Lincoln and the Republican Party by pro-slavery Democrats in the 1860s; also used to refer to the wing of the Republican Party which wanted to harshly punish the South after the American Civil War.

Term used to describe the ascendent conservative wing of the Republican Party after gaining elected majority of Congress in 1994, and to those Republicans perceived to be following a highly activist agenda. Somewhat limited use.


This is a pejorative term, used by the left, for the followers of Ayn Rand's philosophy of Objectivism. It is a portmanteau of Rand's name with the word android, suggesting a robot-like adherence to the philosophy. Objectivists, and particularly Rand's inner circle, have also been described as a "cult", by critics from the left.


Outspoken right-wing opponent of socialist or left-wing ideology. Often used by members of the left to refer to the right in general. Refers to the concept of "progressive" (leftward) social and economic changes vs "reactionary" or "kneejerk" changes, or those that are seen as reversing their perceived progress.


U.S.: Used by opponents of the Republican Party to equate their policies and ways with those of former president Ronald Reagan. The "Great Communicator" had a reputation for obfuscation, toughness, aggressiveness, and a tendency to be politically divisive. His use of hardline tactics to effect the end of the Cold War were also widely criticized by his opponents. His economic policies were derided as Voodoo Economics by the American left (though the phrase "Voodoo Economics" was actually invented by his vice-president, George H.W. Bush). This term has been appropriated by some American conservatives, who wear the adjective as a badge of honor. See also: Neoliberalism


Used to describe communists, or people and institutions believed to be communist, or people and institutions seen as supporting communism. Typical examples of usage include Red Dean Acheson, or Red China. In the United States in the 2000s, it has also become used to describe the Republican Party, its members and supportive institutions, and states in which the Republican Party is dominant, often - but not always - in a pejorative manner. See red states.

In Germany, most parties are associated with a color, Red stands for both the large Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD) and a number of smaller left parties, including the German Communist Party (KPD) and the newer Left Party (Germany). It is often used when describing government coalitions, a coalition of SPD and the Green Party is called a Red-Green coalition, a coalition of SPD and Left Party a Red-Red coalition (found in some state or communal governments), the current Grand coalition between CDU and SPD is sometimes referred to as Black-Red.

Red Agitator

U.S.: early-to-mid 1900s. Used to refer to those perceived as leftist radicals. Less often used to refer to people who were trying to form labor unions or to help African-Americans and other disenfranchised groups. Typically applied to instigators of the activity, such as organizers, union representatives, leaders, and so forth. See Bolshevik.


A term used to denigrate rural people, particularly midwesterners, appalachians or southerners in the United States. Also used as a classist term to denigrate poor white people.

Red Tory

CAN: A member of the more left-leaning wing of any of the Conservative ("Tory") parties in Canada. More often used as a neutral or positive descriptor or self-description than an epithet. See also Blue Tory.

Reich Winger

A term used to refer to an extreme right wing conservative.

Republicrat, Big Business Party

Used by opponents to indicate their belief that the U.S. Democratic Party and U.S. Republican Party are very similar to each other.

Same as "Demopublican".

Rethuglican, RePug, Repuke, etc.

U.S.: Purposeful mispellings and witty takes on party names have been prevalent on the U.S. internet in the past few years, particularly when elections are near. See List of pejorative political puns.

Reverse racism & Reverse discrimination

Pejorative terms for affirmative action, racial quotas, and set-asides.


Marxist term, describing those who support a different variety of Marxism than the person using the term.

Among historians, revisionism has traditionally been used in both neutral and pejorative senses to describe the work or ideas of a historian who has revised a previously accepted view of a particular topic. See historical revisionism.

This usage has declined amongst some historians because within the field of Holocaust studies revisionism has come to specifically designate historical work which aims to deny the extent of the Jewish Holocaust.

Rightist, Rightist Opportunist

People's Republic of China: used by the Communist Party to refer to right-leaning communists and pragmatists. Especially during Mao's Anti-rightist campaign.

Rootless cosmopolitan

Soviet Union: The Stalinists used this phrase to describe Jews in the Soviet Union during the period of 1948-1953.


UK: Moniker given to supporters of the Parliamentarian cause in the English Civil War. The Roundheads were so called because of their short haircuts, as opposed to the long ringlets of the fashionable courtiers.

Running dog of the imperialists, Capitalist running dogs, etc.

People's Republic of China: Enemies seen as doing work against China for the benefit of, or on the orders of, capitalist countries. Used globally to refer to anyone seen as serving Capitalism or the wealthy. Almost always used by native-language English speakers sarcastically, jocularly, or in a humorously-altered form. See also "Lackey."


U.S.: A term used after the American Civil War in the Southern United States to pejoratively describe Southerners who participated in, or profitted from Reconstruction governments. Also Southerners who collaborated with the Federal Government and/or Union Army during the Civil War. See also Carpetbagger

Second Gilded Age

U.S.: A term used by liberals and others to deride the (alleged) pro-corporate/supply-side policies of recent administrations, in particular the U.S. Republican Party (though many include Bill Clinton due to his support of free trade). The term is derived from the Gilded Age in the U.S. (1873-1900), when government power was widely and openly deployed to further the interests of corporations and the wealthy at the expense of the common man; when monopolies dominated trade within the U.S.; when the U.S. military was primarily used for imperialistic purposes (both abroad, and against Native Americans); when the financial markets were widely infected with graft and corruption; and when social Darwinism was widely touted as sound economic and social policy. As many Americans view the time as a backwards era (and the Progressive Movement and New Deal which followed as improvements), the term is generally viewed as a slur.


Term used by Irish republicans to denigrate those in the United Kingdom government and Ulster Unionist Party who use criminal records as a reason to exclude certain Republicans from government.

Self-hating Jew

U.S./UK: term used to describe Jews who either hide, are ashamed of their religion or understate their ethnicity. Also used on Jews who are seen by those who label them as working against the interests of the Jewish people. The epithet has been used to criticise secular, reformist, anti-Zionist Jews. [26] Some allege that the term is used to stifle criticism of Israel and/or its policies.[27][28] (See: Jewish self-hatred)

Self-loathing Queer

Sometimes abbreviated to 'SLQ'; used within the gay community to refer to those who are gay but not in support of a particular gay rights policy demand. Some open homosexuals use this epithet to describe gay people who have not yet come out of the closet, and oppose (or remain silent on) gay rights in order to deflect suspicion about their own sexuality.

Smoke and mirrors

A derogatory term for political policies and/or programs that are allegedly based on trickery or illusion. It is also used to suggest that a policy or program with supposed great expectations, will be impossible or extremely difficult to implement, and ultimately end in failure. The following quote demonstrates a common political usage: "The DEA budget is just "smoke and mirrors."

New York City columnist Jimmy Breslin is credited with popularizing the phrase.

Snake Oil

U.S.: A derogatory term for policies implied to be false, fraudulent, and/or impractical and ineffective. The expression is also applied metaphorically to any policy with exaggerated, but questionable or unverifiable quality or utility. The term is based on "Snake oil", a Traditional Chinese medicine with very limited medical value, typically sold by unscrupulous peddlers in 19th-Century America.

Soccer mom

U.S.: Describes a thirty-something Democrat mother that is believed to vote on the basis of gossip or a candidate's looks rather than forming her own opinion.

The term soccer mom is often used by right-wing pundit Rush Limbaugh.

Soft on Communism

U.S.: A term for the American left, used by the American right until the fall of Soviet bloc communism in the early 1990s. Leftist politicians were believed to only provide lukewarm opposition to Soviet communism.

Soft on Crime

U.S.: A term for civil libertarians used by law and order interests. This term suggests that civil libertarians are more concerned with the "rights of criminals" than the "rights of crime victims" or "law abiding citizens."

Special Rights

U.S.: A term used by opponents of gay rights, to oppose further extension of such. It is claimed by these opponents that gay-rights legislation, rather than simply granting equality to sexual minorities in some fashion, would instead grant them rights and priveleges above and beyond what are enjoyed by heterosexuals.


U.S.: A term for third party candidates that are seen as "spoiling" the chances of election for Democratic or Republican candidates. The "spoiling" comes from dividing the base of prospective voters. Ralph Nader has been called a spoiler by Democrats, and Ross Perot Sr. has been called a spoiler by Republicans.


International: Although originally coined by Trotsky as a term for a degenerated workers state, rather than communism, Stalinism has been described as being synonymous with left wing totalitarianism, or a tyrannical regime. The term has been used to describe regimes that fight political dissent through violence, imprisonment, and killings. See also "Maoist."

Star Chamber

UK: Historical British term for a secret court no longer in operation within the British system of jurisprudence. This court could hear all cases short of capital crimes. Use of this term now connotes secret political dealings, or a lack of transparency in politics or government. Used by persons of all political stripes to defame their opponents. See also "Troika".

Taliban wing of the Republican Party

U.S.: Used by detractors of the religious right, to associate the social policies favored by parts of the U.S. Republican Party with the radically repressive social policies of the Taliban. The term was less widely used after the September 11, 2001 attacks by Al-Qaeda, when comparisons to the Taliban, with which the United States was soon at war, became more inflammatory, but made a comeback during the U.S. presidential election, 2004.

Tax and Spend Liberal

U.S.: Used by conservatives to label liberals as favoring a cycle of continually increasing taxes and government spending, without regard to effectiveness or efficiency. High federal budget deficits during the Reagan Administration afforded Democrat Michael Dukakis the opportunity to label his opponents "spend and spend Republicans." The Bush administration's deficits inspired the coinage Borrow and Spend Republican.

Tax Cut and Spend Republican

U.S.: Used by liberals to frame conservatives as favoring a cycle of increasing taxes for the middle class and poor, decreasing social spending and giving tax cuts to the super-rich and at the same time increasing military spending and depleting the economy. This term frames Republicans for their record budget deficits during the George W. Bush administration. [29]


UK: A term used by opponents of the Conservative party to equate their policies with those of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher. The "Iron Lady" had a reputation for her abrasive personality, toughness, agressiveness, and tendency to be politically divisive. Thatcher was also called a "warmonger" by the Labour Party for Britain's military defense of the Falkland Islands from Argentine invasion/occupation. See also "Reaganite."

Theoconservative, Theocon

U.S.: A variation of "neoconservative", this epithet is a pun that plays off the Greek word Theos, meaning "God". In particular, it refers to members of the Republican party and other conservative parties who cite their religion, particularly Christianity, as an important part of their political beliefs.

Tory and Whig

UK & CAN: Originally the Whigs were proponents of, and Tories the opponents of, moves to exclude the future King James II of England and his Roman Catholic heirs from succession to the throne of England; Tory is derived from the Irish word, "toraidhe", which translates as 'pursuer' and means an outlaw or rebel, specifically a Roman Catholic who preyed on the Protestant Settlers. The name stuck to the conservative side of British politics even beyond the formation of the British Conservative Party in 1830. Today, the term is used widely to refer to that party or its members, and also in Canada to refer to members of the various Conservative parties. In neither case is the name pejorative.

The term Whig was originally used to mean a Scottish Presbyterian, particularly a Covenanter in rebellion against the Crown. The origin of the word is obscure but it may refer to a group of seventeenth century Scottish rebels whose attack on Edinburgh is called the Whiggamore Raid. Alternatively "whigmaleerie" is an old Scottish word meaning a silly idea.

U.S.: Tory was also used in U.S. to describe the loyalists during the American Revolution, and during postwar reprisals. There was also a Whig Party in the United States during the nineteenth century.

Tree hugger

Used to refer to environmentally minded activists, and appropriated in most circumstances. It originated from people chaining themselves to trees to prevent logging; as well as the image of hippies expressing affection towards nature by literally hugging trees. The name of the Chipko movement in India literally means "tree-hugging".


Historical Russian term for secret tribunals no longer in operation within the Russian system of jurisprudence. In Soviet times, these tribunals could hear any case and frequently pronounced the death sentence. Use of this term now connotes secret/sinister political dealings, or a lack of transparency in politics. Used by persons of all political stripes to defame their opponents. See also "Star Chamber".

The term translates as "threesome" and is used in this context to refer to the three Foreign Ministers of the European Union representing the previous, current, and future Presidents of the Council of Ministers.


Used by many Stalinists and Maoists to insult party members who didn't toe the orthodox party line. Named for Leon Trotsky, a Soviet Bolshevik opposed to Joseph Stalin and his "betrayal" of the Russian Revolution of 1917. Trotsky believed that revolution should be continuous and argued for putting political power in the hands of the people. This angered the entrenched leadership, eventually leading to his death in Mexico City from a political assassination. The more polite (and preferred) adjective for followers of Trotsky is "Trotskyist."


Often use by people in power to insult people who criticize those in power. Examples include labor union organizers, in which the phrase is in the spirit of 'red agitator'. However it was also used by the Chinese Communist government to refer to dissidents such as Harry Wu, who wrote a book entitled Troublemaker.


Used by some leftists and socialists to denigrate members of small, sectarian groups even further to the left. The implication is that the groups are overly dogmatic or so far to the left that they are politically irrelevant. Often used to refer to groups on the left espousing anarchism, DeLeonism, council communism, or syndicalism, or groups whose ideology is mostly informed by figures considered by other leftists to be marginal such as Kim Il Sung or Enver Hoxha, or groups with a minuscule membership which nonetheless claim "vanguard party" status. See also "Van Party".


U.S.: Used to label somebody the user believes is undermining American values or working against the interests of the United States. Because there is little agreement about what constitutes either of these, in practice it is applied to an extremely broad set of people. See also: House Un-American Activities Committee.

Uncle Tom

U.S.: an African American whose political views or allegiances are labeled by critics as detrimental to black Americans as a group. This term has been used by some African-Americans to refer to Condoleezza Rice and Colin Powell, due to their participation in a Republican administration, although it has also been used to describe Democratic African-American politicians accused of ignoring the African-American community such as former Los Angeles mayor Thomas Bradley. The original reference is to a character in an anti-slavery novel, Uncle Tom's Cabin, written by Harriet Beecher Stowe. (Ironically, in Stowe's novel, Uncle Tom was a heroic figure who resisted the oppression from his master, rather than a "toadie.") [30]

The term "Aunt Jemima" is sometimes used as a female version of Uncle Tom to refer to a black woman who is obsequiously servile.

United Queendom

Originally coined as a tongue in cheek term to encourage gay tourism of the United Kingdom, the term is now used as an epithet of disgust by British social and political conservatives for the UK's gay friendly policies (including the legalization of gay marriage in December of 2005). [31]

Useful Idiot

This term is purported to be coined by Lenin to refer to those who were seen as assisting the interests of the Communist movement while in ignorance or denial of its full programme. Contemporary usage is predominantly by conservatives such as talk show host Michael Savage and Mona Charen (author of a book titled Useful Idiots) who use it to refer to western leftists.


A pejorative term for idealistic concepts, proposals, societies, etc. Also a term for political philosophies/solutions intended to correct all the faults of the world; and that these faults will supposedly disappear in the envisioned society. The things outlined in the utopic visions are usually radical, revolutionary, inspirational, or speculative. The term utopia has become stereotyped as reflecting notions that are too optimistic and idealistic for practical application; and critics will often consider these concepts as impossible or void.

Van party or Taxi party

A political party that is supposedly so small that their entire membership could fit into a van or a taxi. Expression "van party" (kombi stranka) is used in Serbia and Montenegro, "taxi party" (partido do táxi) in Portugal. "Telephone booth party" has been used in the United States to mean the same thing.

The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy

The Vast Left Wing Conspiracy: The Untold Story of How Democratic Operatives, Eccentric Billionaires, Liberal Activists, and Assorted Celebrities Tried to Bring Down a President--and Why They'll Try Even Harder Next Time - the jocular title of a 2005 book by author Byron York.

Vast right-wing conspiracy

An alleged conspiracy, espoused by Hillary Clinton and other prominent Democrats, to expose damaging information about her husband.


In politics of Spain, los violentos ("the violent ones") is used to refer to the armed Basque separatist organization ETA and its supporters.


An environmentalist whose primary motives are claimed by critics to be political and economic leftism, rather than environmentalism. The term comes from being "Green on the outside but Red on the inside".

Weak Sisters

U.S.: Term used by the right to describe leftists as weak, ineffectual, and feminine.

The White Man's Burden

International: The White Man's Burden represents a 19th-Century Eurocentric view of the world, suggesting that westerners should "civilize" the rest of the world, and has been used to encourage powerful nations to adopt an imperial role. The term is the name of an 1899 poem by Rudyard Kipling, the sentiments of which give insight into this world view.


U.S.: portmanteau word combining right wing and nut, used by American leftists to describe the far right in American poltics. Sometimes shortened to Winger.

Woman hating & Misogynist

Pejorative terms used by feminists and others on the left to refer to opponents of feminist policies and ideology.

Worker's Paradise

Term coined by American communists to describe the Soviet Union of the early 20th-Century. Quickly exposed as false, especially after the death of Lenin, and the ascension of Stalin. Now used as an term of ironic derision by conservatives to describe overly optimistic or unrealistic utopian schemes proposed by liberal activists and politicians.


NZ: A New Zealand term, almost obsolete. Originally it meant an alcohol Prohibitionist. It also came to mean a killjoy, someone whose opposition to alcohol extended to all social jollity. Also in Western Australia, describes someone who tries to stop people from having fun, used mostly for politicians and people in power. A common synonym in New Zealand and Australia is "Wally."

Yellow Dog Democrat

U.S.: Term frequently used to describe die-hard Democrats so fervently loyal that they overlook issues and attributes of the candidates. In colloquial speech it is used as "He would vote for a Yellow Dog, if it was a Democrat." Use of this term, along with the fortunes of southern democrats, is now in decline.

Yellow journalism

U.S.: Deriving from the character featured in one of the New York World comic strips known as The Yellow Kid; it describes newspapers from the late 1800s and early 1900s that would overhype and sensationalize articles in order to sell more copies. The major publications of Yellow Journalism were the World by Joseph Pulitzer and the New York Journal by William Randolph Hearst. It saw its heights as a precursor to the Spanish-American war, as it was instrumental in drumming up popular support by exaggerating Spanish atrocities against Cubans. When the USS Maine incident occurred, the "yellow journals" immediately blamed the Spanish, and led to widespread support for a declaration of war. Soon after the war, conservative presses launched attacks on the sensational yellow journals, and they declined in popularity.

Young Turk

A young usurper; but more commonly in current usage refers to a younger person within a corporate environment or government pushing for major change.

The original usage comes from a Turkish nationalist reform party, officially known as the "Committee of Union and Progress" - whose leaders led a rebellion against Sultan Abdul Hamid II (who was officially deposed and exiled in 1909). They ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1908 until the end of World War I in November 1918.


Political epithet sometimes used to show contempt for Jewish nationalism (formerly nationalist aspirations). Also used by anti-Semites as a synonym or code-word for Jew. However, the term is also often used without pejorative connotations, especially by those who adhere to ideology of Zionism.

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