war hawk

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Late 18th c., often attributed to Virginian Congressman John Randolph of Roanoke, but no written evidence exists.[1] Popularized in debates concerning the War of 1812. Sense "eagle" probably a calque of Old English guþhafoc


war hawk (plural war hawks)

  1. (figuratively) A proponent of war or military intrusiveness.
    Synonyms: hawk, warmonger
  2. (literary, dated) An eagle.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Ralph E. Eshelman; Scott S. Sheads (2013), “Origin of “War Hawks””, in Chesapeake Legends and Lore from the War of 1812 (in English), Arcadia Publishing, →ISBN: “While Randolph is credited with having coined the phrase, there were several instances of the usage of the term in prewar newspaper articles, none attributed to Rudolph.”