Tory

noun

To·​ry ˈtȯr-ē How to pronounce Tory (audio)
plural Tories
1
b
: a member or supporter of a major British political group of the 18th and early 19th centuries favoring at first the Stuarts and later royal authority and the established church and seeking to preserve the traditional political structure and defeat parliamentary reform compare whig
2
: an American upholding the cause of the British Crown against the supporters of colonial independence during the American Revolution : loyalist
3
often not capitalized : an extreme conservative especially in political and economic principles
4
: a dispossessed Irishman subsisting as an outlaw chiefly in the 17th century
5
obsolete : bandit, outlaw
Tory adjective

Examples of Tory in a Sentence

a small-town Tory who saw that society was changing, much to his regret

Word History

Etymology

Irish tóraidhe outlaw, robber, from Middle Irish tóir pursuit

First Known Use

1646, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Time Traveler
The first known use of Tory was in 1646

Dictionary Entries Near Tory

Cite this Entry

“Tory.” Merriam-Webster.com Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, https://www.merriam-webster.com/dictionary/Tory. Accessed 30 May. 2024.

Kids Definition

Tory

noun
To·​ry ˈtōr-ē How to pronounce Tory (audio)
ˈtȯr-
plural Tories
1
2
: an American on the side of the British during the American Revolution
Tory adjective
Etymology

from tóraidhe, a word in Irish Gaelic, the original language of Ireland, meaning "robber, pursued man"

Word Origin
In the 17th century, many of the Irish had their property taken from them by the English. Some of them lived by plundering English settlements and robbing English soldiers. Such an outlaw was called a tóraidhe in Irish Gaelic. This word literally meant "one who is pursued" and "robber." Later, this term was also applied to an armed Irish supporter of the Roman Catholic faith. In English the word was shortened to Tory and was used for a member of the conservative political party in England. Tories strongly supported the authority of the monarch. During the American Revolution, the term Tory was used for an American who supported British authority rather than independence.

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