Word Confusion: Ex-Patriot versus Expatriate

Posted March 6, 2014 by Kathy Davie in Author Resources, Self-Editing, Word Confusions, Writing

Revised as of 26 August 2017

I could not believe it when I ran into this word confusion. How can anyone possibly confuse ex-patriot with expatriate? Especially when the writer is English? A country renowned for the tremendous numbers of Englishmen who went abroad to seek a better fortune???

Of course, I know Americans would have no trouble knowing the difference between an ex-Patriot and an expatriate. What football team do the expatriates play for again? Whether my fellow citizens would grasp ex-patriot is another question.

A better spelling is ex-patriot which explains it all. The opposite of patriot. A former flag-waver who no longer supports his or her country. Think traitor or betrayer.

I suppose some may consider people who choose to leave their country to go work in another a traitorous act. I’m not sure why, but I do try to consider the possibilities *eye roll*. However, having been an expat myself, it is a broadening experience which opened my eyes to different ways of doing things. Yes, some were better and some were more interesting while some only made me love America more. I know the experience made me a better person. It did not, however, make me an ex-patriot.

Word Confusions…

…started as my way of dealing with a professional frustration with properly spelled words that were out of context in manuscripts I was editing as well as books I was reviewing. It evolved into a sharing of information with y’all. I’m hoping you’ll share with us words that have been a bête noir for you from either end.

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Ex-patriot Expatriate
Credit to: Apple Dictionary.com

“Mug Shots of Hanoi Jane” courtesy of Before It’s News

Many people consider Jane Fonda an ex-patriot because of her actions during the Vietnam War.

“My Expat Life Comforts” is courtesy of Bonnie Rose’s blog

A young couple enjoying living abroad as expatriates.

Part of Grammar:
Plural for the noun: ex-patriots
Adjective; Noun;
Verb, intransitive & transitive 1

Plural for the noun and third person present verb: expatriates
Past tense or past participle: expatriated
Gerund or present participle: expatriating

The OPPOSITE of patriot:
A patriot is a person who vigorously supports their country and is prepared to defend it against enemies or detractors
[Of a person] Living outside their native country

  • [Archaic] Expelled from one’s native country

A person who lives outside their native country

  • [Archaic] A person exiled from their native country

Verb, intransitive:
To settle oneself abroad

Verb, transitive:
To banish a person from his or her native country

To withdraw oneself from residence in one’s native country

To withdraw oneself from allegiance to one’s country

Benedict Arnold is the first ex-patriot to come to mind.

Other famous traitorous ex-patriots include Adam Yahiye Gadahn, Aldrich Ames, Iva Toguri D’Aquino, Aaron Burr, Julius and Ethel Rosenberg, Robert Hanssen, Nidal Malik Hasan, and John Walker, Jr (Listverse).

expatriate writers and artists

American expatriates in London

I became an expatriate when my husband and I moved to Sierra Leone to work.

Verb, intransitive:
He expatriated from his homeland.

Candidates should be willing to expatriate.

Verb, transitive:
They were expatriated because of their political beliefs.

Adjective: patriotic
Adverb: patriotically
Noun: patriot, patriotism
Noun: expatriation, self-expatriation
History of the Word:
Late 16th century (in the late Latin sense) is from the French patriote, which is from the late Latin patriota, meaning fellow countryman, from the Greek patriōtēs, from patrios which means of one’s fathers, or from patris, meaning fatherland. 1 Mid-18th century from the medieval Latin expatriat- meaning gone out from one’s country, from the verb expatriare, which is from ex- (out) + patria (native country).

C’mon, get it out of your system, bitch, whine, moan…which words are your pet peeves?

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Pinterest Photo Credits

Benedict Arnold by Thomas Hart and Josephine Baker by Walery, French, 1863-1935 (http://estonia.usembassy.gov/); both are in the public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.