MEANING: noun: One who advocates war, military intervention, or other aggressive measures.

ETYMOLOGY: After hawk, a bird of prey + war, from Old English (werre) + hawk, from Old English heafoc. Earliest documented use: 1792.

NOTES: A war hawk (or, simply, hawk) advocates for war, a dove (or, peace dove) for peace. Then there’s the species chicken hawk, which clamors for war only to send others to fight and do the dirty work while staying safely behind. Most war hawks are simply chicken hawks.

The term war hawk was especially applied to members of the 12th US Congress (1811-1813) who advocated for war with Britain. Among other motives for the war was the annexation of Canada. They got their war, now known as the War of 1812. The British burned the White House and the Capitol, among other federal buildings. The war ended in 1815. Some 25,000 died. It was a draw.

OAR HAWK - an advocate of returning to slave-powered ships

PAR HAWK - Improve your golf score by ten strokes or your money back!

WAR HACK - a lingering cough in those lucky enough to survive a wartime gas attack