conservatism

noun
con·​ser·​va·​tism | \ kən-ˈsər-və-ˌti-zəm How to pronounce conservatism (audio) \

Definition of conservatism

1 capitalized

a : the principles and policies of a Conservative party
b : the Conservative party
2a : disposition in politics to preserve what is established
b : a political philosophy based on tradition and social stability, stressing established institutions, and preferring gradual development to abrupt change specifically : such a philosophy calling for lower taxes, limited government regulation of business and investing, a strong national defense, and individual financial responsibility for personal needs (such as retirement income or health-care coverage)
3 : the tendency to prefer an existing or traditional situation to change religious conservatism cultural conservatism

Keep scrolling for more

Examples of conservatism in a Sentence

the state's well-known conservatism means that progressive legislation always has an uphill battle

Recent Examples on the Web

Until now, Kaplan’s conservatism has been seen an asset to the company. Casey Newton, The Verge, "Facebook’s head of public policy is supporting the Kavanaugh nomination, and some employees are livid," 5 Oct. 2018 In terms of the politics, Trump has shown a fealty toward the Republic orthodoxy created by Reagan, in terms of tax cuts, conservative judges, the lip service his administration pays towards social conservatism. Robert Sullivan, Vogue, "Political Division? That’s Nothing New," 7 Mar. 2019 Economic resentment didn’t motivate these Oklahoma voters, but rather historic conservatism. Jon Talton, The Seattle Times, "In America’s ‘geography of despair,’ how to help the left-behind places?," 21 Nov. 2018 Fiscal conservatism instead is outweighed by political pressures to keep up in big-time college sports and retain popular coaches. Christopher Schnaars, USA TODAY, "Is overspending catching up to these Power 5 schools?," 28 June 2018 D’Souza eventually discarded his more classically liberal conservatism for a caustic and conspiratorial strain of rhetoric. Time, "President Trump Says He's Pardoning Dinesh D'Souza. Who's That, and What Did He Do?," 31 May 2018 But the pockets of conservatism are still very strong. Robert Sullivan, Vogue, "Political Division? That’s Nothing New," 7 Mar. 2019 There’s no one simple answer for the return to conservatism in the ’30s. Eliza Brooke, Vox, "How the Great Recession influenced a decade of design," 27 Dec. 2018 Conservatives regularly attend symposia to discuss the future of conservatism. Peggy Noonan, WSJ, "Republicans Need to Save Capitalism," 14 Feb. 2019

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

See More

First Known Use of conservatism

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for conservatism

see conserve entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conservatism

Statistics for conservatism

Last Updated

16 Apr 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for conservatism

The first known use of conservatism was in 1815

See more words from the same year

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conservatism

conservatism

noun

English Language Learners Definition of conservatism

: belief in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society
: dislike of change or new ideas in a particular area

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on conservatism

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

WORD OF THE DAY

not to be persuaded, moved, or stopped

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Words from Greek and Latin Quiz

  • roman forum
  • Which of the following months comes from a Latin word for “ten”?
How Strong Is Your Vocabulary?

Test your vocabulary with our 10-question quiz!

TAKE THE QUIZ
SCRABBLE® Sprint

Test Your Knowledge - and learn some interesting things along the way.

TAKE THE QUIZ
Love words? Need even more definitions?

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