fake patriot

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Li'l Bull

Senior Member
Spanish (Spain)
Hi, native speakers of English!

I was wondering if the expression "tin patriot" is common in English to refer to someone who says they love their country but whose behaviour suggests otherwise (in the sense of "fake").

I've come across the expression "tin god", and the metaphor of "tin" as something of low quality (as opposed to expressions like "heart of gold") has made me think of the possibility that the word could be applied to other ideas meaning "fake", "of low quality" etc.

Thank you in advance.
 
  • sdgraham

    Senior Member
    USA English
    One cannot pluck a word from an idiom or metaphor and randomly assign it to another expression.

    I have never encountered "tin patriot."
     

    Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    One cannot pluck a word from an idiom or metaphor and randomly assign it to another expression.

    I have never encountered "tin patriot."
    Thank you, sdgraham.

    Any suggestions for the idea of a person who says he/she is a patriot when in reality he/she is not? - of course this would be used mostly as an insult by someone who thinks the other person is a fake patriot.
     

    Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    I see nothing wrong with your "fake patriot," Torito. :)
    Thanks again :). I was looking for maybe a more literary/metaphorical expression, but if you think "fake patriot" is common enough in English, that'll do.

    P.S. As you probably know, the thing with us non-native speakers of English is that we tend to look for words/expressions that match the ones in our L1 as closely as possible, when in fact it is not usually possible.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    In fairness the adjective 'tin' is used negatively (often in figurative contrast with precious metals) but more in the sense of 'very poor quality': "Look at Africa! It's filled with tin-pot dictators!"

    The speaker is saying that the dictators are real enough and genuinely dictators but they are of a 'very poor quality'.
     

    Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    In fairness the adjective 'tin' is used negatively (often in figurative contrast with precious metals) but more in the sense of 'very poor quality': "Look at Africa! It's filled with tin-pot dictators!"

    The speaker is saying that the dictators are real enough and genuinely dictators but they are of a 'very poor quality'.
    Thanks, PaulQ. So do you think "tin-pot patriot" might work?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    Yes. That sounds fine to me, but it does not mean "fake" but "very poor quality". A "tin-pot patriot" person would usually be loud, offensive, narrow-minded, simplistic, etc. but, nevertheless, claim to be a patriot.

    When you use the word "fake" the reader should be able to understand whether you mean
    (i) the negative: "He is a fake doctor.", i.e. he is not a doctor, or
    (ii) if you mean "imitation": "It is a fake watch" -> it is certainly a watch but, although the dial says "Rolex" it is not a "Rolex." (Obviously, the fake watch is very poor quality compared to a real Rolex.)
     

    Ça y est!

    Senior Member
    English - U.S.
    I just did an Internet search on "false patriot" and got an awful lot of hits. It's not an expression I'm familiar with, but it seems to be in use a lot.
     

    Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    Thank you all for your replies.

    So, to be more specific: if you wanted to refer to someone who, for instance, files his/her tax return abroad but has always claimed to be a patriot, would you use "false patriot" or "fake patriot" - or something else?
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    You could call him a "so-called patriot", a "self-proclaimed patriot", "self-styled patriot", or a "patriot in name only."
     

    Li'l Bull

    Senior Member
    Spanish (Spain)
    You could call him a "so-called patriot", a "self-proclaimed patriot", "self-styled patriot", or a "patriot in name only."
    Thanks, PaulQ. Are your suggestions an attempt to avoid offensive language? They all seem nice ways of putting it to me. :D As I mentioned above, I'm looking for a slightly more hurtful way of putting it, while being faithful to the fact that such a person as I described in #12 could hardly be called a patriot.
     

    PaulQ

    Banned
    UK
    English - England
    "Self-proclaimed patriot", "so-called patriot", and "self-styled patriot" are insulting - they imply that the person has no judgement and isn't a patriot.

    Call them "plastic patriots" if you want - that has the nuance of "fake".

    When writing something hard-hitting, a lot can be achieved with a slight understatement.
     

    ain'ttranslationfun?

    Senior Member
    US English
    I wonder if there's any reference to "tin-horn"? The expression you ask about seems to imply that the person is "wrapping himself in the flag", resorting to "Patriotism...the last resort of scoundrels" (S. Johnson), to divert attention from legitimate criticism by changing the subject. That said, you could use any of PaulQ's suggestions. (Or maybe "psuedo-patriot"?)
     
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