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ac·​tiv·​ist ˈak-ti-vist How to pronounce activist (audio)
plural activists
: 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
activistic adjective
What is news to me … is how much alike were the fears and concerns of both activistic Democrats and skeptical Republicans … Nathan Glazer


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: 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

Examples of activist in a Sentence

Recent Examples on the Web
Instead, Colin Noir, a gun rights activist and a prominent and popular commentator for the NRA, stepped in instead. Salvador Hernandez, Los Angeles Times, 21 Nov. 2023 For example, in Paris, travelers can participate in an excursion focused on dancer, singer and civil rights activist Josephine Baker. Sarah Kuta, Smithsonian Magazine, 20 Nov. 2023 Trade unionists and labor activists say that’s because the debate has been heavily influenced by Uber. WIRED, 20 Nov. 2023 Starting in 2006, Gershon Baskin, an Israeli peace activist based in Jerusalem, and Ghazi Hamad, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, nurtured an informal back channel between officials in Jerusalem and in Gaza, even as each side refused to engage with the other directly. Patrick Kingsley, New York Times, 19 Nov. 2023 According to rights activists, the Russian Defense Ministry has enlisted as many as 100,000 people this year by scouring prison colonies and offering to chop off years from the sentences of people convicted of some of the country’s most gruesome crimes. Mary Ilyushina, Washington Post, 18 Nov. 2023 In the moments where Domingo was shown with young activists, Leslie James wanted these individuals to have distinct style cues. Robyn Mowatt, Essence, 18 Nov. 2023 Lily Gladstone teared up giving a passionate speech honoring activists who work to protect Indigenous women at Variety’s Power of Woman event Thursday in Hollywood, presented by Lifetime. Valerie Wu, Variety, 17 Nov. 2023 Six people protesting the Israel-Gaza war also were arrested outside U.S. defense contractor Raytheon’s office in Arlington, Va., according to police and activists. Ellie Silverman, Washington Post, 9 Nov. 2023
Earlier this year, Iger vanquished a proxy fight challenge by activist investor Nelson Peltz. Meg James, Los Angeles Times, 20 Nov. 2023 Unions and activist groups representing platform workers are wary of Uber’s influence because the company’s lobbying has been successful before. WIRED, 20 Nov. 2023 Among those present was a spokesman for the activist group Palestine Speaks, who asked not to be identified over concerns about hate mail. Erika Solomon, New York Times, 10 Nov. 2023 Peltz abandoned his activist campaign against Disney soon afterward, with Disney CEO Bob Iger pledging cost cuts on his first earnings call of the year. Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, Fortune, 7 Nov. 2023 Johnston joins Disney as the company faces activist pressure from Peltz, whose firm, Trian Fund Management, has built a sizable stake in the company and is threatening a proxy battle. Kristin Broughton, WSJ, 6 Nov. 2023 Daniel says their mom had to push Teran to finish school because they were distracted by their activist groups. Hilary Beaumont, Rolling Stone, 16 Oct. 2023 And earlier this year, Nash successfully avoided a proxy battle for the company with activist investor Dan Loeb of Third Point. Lila MacLellan, Fortune, 7 Nov. 2023 Part of Ramer’s job would be to act as a liaison between Khanna and various activist groups, trying to keep the representative in the good graces of his progressive base and to burnish his future reputation. Andrew Marantz, The New Yorker, 2 Nov. 2023 See More

These examples are programmatically compiled from various online sources to illustrate current usage of the word 'activist.' Any opinions expressed in the examples do not represent those of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback about these examples.

Word History

First Known Use


1920, in the meaning defined above


1917, in the meaning defined above

Time Traveler
The first known use of activist was in 1917

Dictionary Entries Near activist

Cite this Entry

“Activist.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 30 Nov. 2023.

Kids Definition


: a person who believes in forceful action (as a mass demonstration) for political purposes
Last Updated: - Updated example sentences
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