Meaning of Jacobin in English:


Pronunciation /ˈdʒakəbɪn/

Translate Jacobin into Spanish


  • 1 historical A member of a democratic club established in Paris in 1789. The Jacobins were the most radical and ruthless of the political groups formed in the wake of the French Revolution, and in association with Robespierre they instituted the Terror of 1793–4.

    ‘If the fanaticism of the Jacobins made the French revolution a success, so the chiliastic, often religious fervour of the Motley Crews and their milieu pushed the American Revolution and the anti-slavery campaigns to their peak.’
    • ‘Under Maximilien Robespierre, the Jacobins instituted extreme policies to crush enemies of the state.’
    • ‘Despite fears, evinced by Jacobins like Robespierre, that the debilitated army was in no state to defeat the disciplined forces of Austria and Prussia, most of the country was carried away by war fever.’
    • ‘The commune refused to be disbanded and, after hints from Robespierre at the Jacobins, tried to have a number of hostile deputies and ministers arrested.’
    • ‘The more radical measures adopted by the Robespierre wing of the Jacobins to mobilise the masses led to a polarisation of those intellectuals who had initially given the revolution their support.’
    1. 1.1An extreme political radical.
  • 2mainly historical A Dominican friar.

    ‘Henry III was, however, assassinated by a Jacobin friar on 1 August of that year.’
    • ‘It had its origins in the Club Breton which was established after the opening of the STATES-GENERAL in 1789, and acquired its new name from its headquarters in an old Jacobin monastery in Paris.’
  • 3

    (also jacobin)
    A pigeon of a breed with reversed feathers on the back of its neck like a cowl.

  • 4

    (also jacobin)
    A mainly green Central and South American hummingbird, with blue feathers on the head.

    Florisuga mellivora and Melanotrichilus fuscus, family Trochilidae

    ‘In the gorge, red-and-green macaws and red-billed toucans are common sights, while occasionally spied down along the river are the white-necked jacobin and the crimson topaz, both hummingbirds.’
    • ‘As the day warmed up we headed into Mindo for lunch at Los Colibríes restaurant, with a Barred Hawk on the way. The feeders had their usual hummers — Green-crowned Brilliants, White-whiskered Hermits, Green-crowned Woodnymphs, and White-necked Jacobins.’
    • ‘There are heliconias planted around the buildings and pathways that are being visited by hummingbirds, among them White-necked Jacobins, Crowned Woodnymphs and Hermits.’


Middle English (in Jacobin (sense 2)): from Old French, from medieval Latin Jacobinus, from ecclesiastical Latin Jacobus ‘James’. The term was applied to the Dominicans in Old French on account of their church in Paris, St Jacques, near which they built their first convent; the latter eventually became the headquarters of the French revolutionary group.