regime [negative connotations?]

Discussion in 'English Only' started by jiamajia, Mar 21, 2011.

  1. jiamajia

    jiamajia Senior Member

    If a media outlet uses 'regime' to describe a government, such as the Khadafy regime and the Chinese Communist regime, can we assume that contempt and distain are shown in the adoption of this particular word?
  2. CurrantBunbury

    CurrantBunbury Member

    English - United Kingdom
    Not necessarily, but it does have negative connotations. If you look up 'regime' in the WR dictionary it notes that the word is used to describe a government, especially an authoritarian one. A less loaded term would be 'administration'.
  3. Fabulist Banned

    Annandale, Virginia, USA
    American English
    For the present, calling a government a "regime" does have negative connotations. If the reference is to a particular sset of officials, a more neutral term, besides "administration," would be "government": "the Canadian government." To describe the whole complex of political and social institutions and arrangements in a country, terms like "political system" and "polity" do not have the negative connotations of "regime": "The Canadian political system is a federal polity with many features adopted from the historically unitary British system."

    The word "regime" also has a less pejorative historical meaning. The "old regime," a partial translation of French "ancien régime," was the political and social order in Europe before the French revolution, especially in the one or two centuries immediately preceding the Revolution. It did not necessarily end in 1789 in all countries. To enthusiasts of the French Revolution, "old regime" and "ancien régime" are pejoratives, but historians use the term to refer to the time period without making any value judgments about it.
  4. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    Yes, particularly if the government in question is headed by a single, powerful individual who is neither a democratically elected leader nor a hereditary monarch, or by a group that maintains its power by force rather than by free elections.
  5. manon33 Senior Member

    English - England (Yorkshire)
    I agree. I have however heard the phrase 'the Thatcher regime' used to describe the years from 1979-1991 in the UK.
  6. panjandrum

    panjandrum Occasional Moderator

    Belfast, Ireland
    English-Ireland (top end)
    Doesn't that rather prove the point?
  7. Parla Member Emeritus

    New York City
    English - US
    Not, I assume, by any of Margaret's most devoted fans. :D

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