ac·​tiv·​ist | \ ˈak-ti-vist How to pronounce activist (audio) \
plural activists

Definition of activist

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: one who advocates or practices activism : a person who uses or supports strong actions (such as public protests) in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue Antiwar activists were protesting in the streets. an environmental activist political activists The conventional wisdom is that young people no longer care enough to stand up for what is important; that the days of activism and protest have faded into the past, the bailiwick of aging hippies and activists.The Easton (Massachusetts) Journal



Definition of activist (Entry 2 of 2)

: advocating or practicing activism : using or supporting strong actions in support of or opposition to one side of a controversial issue For the activist groups that will carry the nomination fight to the public, the name of the game is hit early and often.— Richard Lacayo Pressing demands that are both global and granular, the activist investor has turned himself into one of the food sector's most influential players, affecting how millions of people eat each day.— Julie Jargon They plan to become activist shareholders who will protest global-warming resolutions and anything else that undermines corporate profitability.— John J. Miller

Other Words from activist


activistic \ ˌak-​ti-​ˈvi-​stik How to pronounce activist (audio) \ adjective
What is news to me … is how much alike were the fears and concerns of both activistic Democrats and skeptical Republicans … — Nathan Glazer

First Known Use of activist


1920, in the meaning defined above


1917, in the meaning defined above

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about activist

Time Traveler for activist

Time Traveler

The first known use of activist was in 1917

See more words from the same year

Statistics for activist

Cite this Entry

“Activist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 7 Mar. 2021.

Style: MLA
MLA Chicago APA Merriam-Webster

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for activist



English Language Learners Definition of activist

: a person who uses or supports strong actions (such as public protests) to help make changes in politics or society

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on activist

What made you want to look up activist? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible).


Test Your Vocabulary

Who Knew?

Name That Thing

Test your visual vocabulary with our 10-question challenge!


Anagram puzzles meet word search.

Love words? Need even more definitions?

Subscribe to America's largest dictionary and get thousands more definitions and advanced search—ad free!