(g soft). French, Girondins, moderate republicans in the first French Revolution. So called from the department of Gironde, which chose for the Legislative Assembly five men who greatly distinguished themselves for their oratory, and formed a political party. They were subsequently joined by Brissot, Condorcet, and the adherents of Roland. The party is called The Gironde. (1791-93.)
“The new assembly, called the Legislative Assembly, met October 1, 1791. Its more moderate members formed the party called the Girondists.”
—C. M. Yonge: France, chap. ix. p. 168.
Source: Dictionary of Phrase and Fable, E. Cobham Brewer, 1894
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