One of the mysteries of the English language finally explained.
Support for a pretender to a throne or other seat of power; specifically (with capital initial) adherence to the cause of the Old or Young Pretender; = "Jacobitism" (now historical).
Early 18th century; earliest use found in George Hickes (1642–1715), bishop of the nonjuring Church of England and antiquary. From pretender + -ism.
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