agrar·​i·​an | \ ə-ˈgrer-ē-ən How to pronounce agrarian (audio) \

Definition of agrarian

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : of or relating to fields or lands or their tenure agrarian landscapes
2a : of, relating to, or characteristic of farmers or their way of life agrarian values
b : organized or designed to promote agricultural interests an agrarian political party



Definition of agrarian (Entry 2 of 2)

: a member of an agrarian party or movement (see agrarian entry 1 sense 2b)

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Synonyms & Antonyms for agrarian

Synonyms: Adjective

Antonyms: Adjective

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Today, an acre is generally considered to be a unit of land measuring 43,560 square feet (4,047 square meters). Before that standard was set, it's believed that an acre represented a rougher measurement - the amount of land that could be plowed in one day with a yoke of oxen. Both acre and agrarian, derive from the Latin noun ager and the Greek noun agros, meaning "field." (You can probably guess that agriculture is another descendant.) Agrarian, first used in English in the 16th century, describes things pertaining to the cultivation of fields, as well as the farmers who cultivate them.

Examples of agrarian in a Sentence

Adjective a town founded in 1811 as an agrarian community
Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective Set in the near future, the novel centers on Sandy, a Hollywood script doctor who’s moved to an agrarian compound in Maine following a technological cratering called the Arrest. Mark Athitakis, USA TODAY, "Review: Jonathan Lethem's 'The Arrest' a shaggy-dog apocalypse tale," 8 Nov. 2020 Those celebrations were beloved by working people, who got a break between Christmas and New Year’s from the informal subsistence labor that characterized their agrarian lifestyle. Amanda Mull, The Atlantic, "Christmas Must Go On," 23 Nov. 2020 In the earliest phase of European capitalism, Marx’s old story goes, a significant number of laborers renounced agrarian communities for towns and cities, dissolving the family unit and moving from one place to another. Josephine Livingstone, The New Republic, "A Groundbreaking New History of Gay Sex and Capitalism," 2 Nov. 2020 At the time of our founding the vast majority of citizens were rural and agrarian. Star Tribune, "Readers Write: Electoral College, Minnesota House race, City Pages," 29 Oct. 2020 Ellen Davis, a theologian at Duke University who has written a book on the agrarian roots of the Bible, has reflected at length on that passage. Robert Kunzig, National Geographic, "Let’s not waste this crucial moment: We need to stop abusing the planet," 13 Oct. 2020 Because the order placed great emphasis on manual labor and self-sufficiency, many Cistercian monks took up farming and other agrarian pursuits such as baking bread or brewing beer. Alex Fox, Smithsonian Magazine, "Sourdough Bread Oven, ‘Air Freshener’ Found at Medieval Irish Monastery," 23 Sep. 2020 Vroonland, a former history teacher, noted the transition in education when American society moved from an agrarian one to an industrial one. Jon Arnold, Dallas News, "Mesquite ISD looks to bring education into the digital age with Ayo project," 14 Sep. 2020 Baseball does not provide a window into America—the gentle tension between laconic, quasi-agrarian pacing and the game’s values of grit and meditative cunning feels nostalgic to the point of absurdity now. Jay Caspian Kang, The New York Review of Books, "Ball Don’t Lie," 27 Aug. 2020 Recent Examples on the Web: Noun The writer-agrarian-soil conservationist founded Malabar Farm in Mansfield. Marc Bona, cleveland, "45 cooking, beer, wine, recipe books – 2020 holiday gift guide," 7 Dec. 2020 Closing the forts frustrated foreclosure proceedings; moreover, for Shay’s enraged agrarians, the courts were a tangible symbol of the eastern moneyed interest and of a government unresponsive to their needs. Thomas Wendel, National Review, "The Beginning of a Nation," 4 July 2019 Southern agrarians disdained capitalism; Peter Viereck spent his time lecturing Americans on the virtues of Metternich and that great homegrown Tory, FDR. Richard Brookhiser, National Review, "Moving Portrait," 4 June 2019 There are the populares of Ancient Rome, the agrarians of nineteenth-century Wisconsin, and the Peronists of twentieth-century Argentina. Yascha Mounk, New Republic, "What the rise of populist movements means for democracy.," 19 July 2017 Jefferson, an agrarian, generally opposed a strong central government. Jonathan W. White, Smithsonian, "Thomas Jefferson, Aaron Burr and the American Way of Treason," 17 Mar. 2017

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'agrarian.' Views expressed in the examples do not represent the opinion of Merriam-Webster or its editors. Send us feedback.

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First Known Use of agrarian


1593, in the meaning defined at sense 1


1795, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for agrarian


Latin agrārius "of landed property" (from agr-, ager "piece of land, field" + -ārius -ary entry 2) + -an entry 2 — more at acre


derivative of agrarian entry 1

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The first known use of agrarian was in 1593

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Cite this Entry

“Agrarian.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 6 Mar. 2021.

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English Language Learners Definition of agrarian

: of or relating to farms and farming

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