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BIGOT, one obstinately and intolerantly holding particular religious opinions, who refuses to listen to reason and is ready to force others to agree with him; hence also applied to one who holds similar views on any subject. The early meaning of the word in English, at the end of the 16th century, was that of a religious hypocrite. The origin is obscure; it appears in French, in the forms bigot or bigos, in the 12th century romance of Girard of Roussillon, where it is applied to certain tribes of southern Gaul, and in the Roman du Rou of Wace (d. 1175?) as an abusive name given by the French to the Normans:

Moult on Franchois Normans laidis
et de meffais et de mesdis.
Souvent lor dient reproviers,
et claiment Bigos et Draschiers.”

To this use has been attached the absurd origin from “ne se, bi god,” the words in which, according to the 12th century chronicle, Rollo, duke of the Normans, refused to kiss the foot of Charles III., the Simple, king of the West Franks. The word may have some connexion with a corruption of Visigoth, a suggestion to which the use in the Girard romance lends colour. The meaning changed in French to that of “religious hypocrite” through the application, in the feminine bigote, to the members of the religious sisterhoods called Beguines (q.v.).