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

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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

Rich seized on the endorsement from Paul to highlight Johnson’s support for recreational marijuana and to voice concern about hardline fiscal conservatism. Morgan Lee, The Seattle Times, "Sen. Rand Paul backs Libertarian candidate in New Mexico," 28 Aug. 2018 Californian Republicans need to stand up for common sense and the rule of law and the fiscal conservatism that has been sorely lacking in our state for decades. Adam Nagourney, New York Times, "An Urgent Debate for California Republicans: How to Get Back in the Game," 6 May 2018 Ryan's brand of politics, an uplifting fiscal conservatism rooted in his admiration of his former boss, Jack Kemp, seemed ascendant as recently as 2012, when Mitt Romney chose to add him to the presidential ticket. Michael Scherer, chicagotribune.com, "Ryan's GOP swept away by a Trumpian revolution," 11 Apr. 2018 All this spending and proposed spending underlines the death of the GOP’s traditional fiscal conservatism under the leadership of a political insurgent and real estate billionaire whose companies declared bankruptcy a half-dozen times. Andrew Malcolm, San Francisco Chronicle, "Republicans abandon conservatism," 15 Feb. 2018 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

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.

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First Known Use of conservatism

1815, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for conservatism

see conserve entry 1

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Statistics for conservatism

Last Updated

11 Jun 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for conservatism

The first known use of conservatism was in 1815

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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

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