conservative

adjective
con·​ser·​va·​tive | \ kən-ˈsər-və-tiv How to pronounce conservative (audio) \

Definition of conservative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1a : of or relating to a philosophy of conservatism
b capitalized : of or constituting a political party professing the principles of conservatism: such as
(1) : of or constituting a party of the United Kingdom advocating support of established institutions
2a : tending or disposed to maintain existing views, conditions, or institutions : traditional conservative policies
b : marked by moderation or caution a conservative estimate
c : marked by or relating to traditional norms of taste, elegance, style, or manners a conservative suit a conservative architectural style
3 : of, relating to, or practicing Conservative Judaism

conservative

noun

Definition of conservative (Entry 2 of 2)

1a : an adherent or advocate of political conservatism
b capitalized : a member or supporter of a conservative political party
2a : one who adheres to traditional methods or views
b : a cautious or discreet person

Keep scrolling for more

Other Words from conservative

Adjective

conservatively adverb
conservativeness noun

Examples of conservative in a Sentence

Adjective

She is a liberal Democrat who married a conservative Republican. She's more conservative now than she was in college.

Noun

His message is being well received by conservatives. proposed legislation that was opposed by conservatives throughout the state
See More

Recent Examples on the Web: Adjective

In the 2018 midterms, O’Rourke had the chance to remove a notoriously conservative and opportunistic member of Congress from his position of power. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Beto O'Rourke's Thirst-Trap Politics Won't Work on Me in the 2020 Democratic Primary," 9 Apr. 2019 Given that Bell had been instrumental in the Carter-era creation of the Department of Education, the move perplexed just about everyone in Washington, conservative and liberal. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The State of American Trade Schools," 13 Mar. 2019 Corresponding Republican and conservative groups took in $26.4 million this cycle, versus $17.7 million in the cycle prior. Recode Staff, Recode, "Recode Daily: Viral game-show app HQ Trivia faces some existential questions," 5 Nov. 2018 An array of liberal and conservative legal experts say Judge O’Connor’s ruling is vulnerable to being overturned on appeal. Brent Kendall, WSJ, "What ACA Ruling May Mean for Millions of Americans’ Health Coverage," 15 Dec. 2018 Lachlan is politically conservative and defends Fox News even as his left-leaning brother James privately professes embarrassment about the channel. Sarah Ellison, The Seattle Times, "Younger Murdoch take the reins. How will he deal with Trump?," 25 Mar. 2019 One of Reagan’s major campaign issues was the now-familiar conservative cry to abolish the Department of Education. Chuck Thompson, Popular Mechanics, "The State of American Trade Schools," 13 Mar. 2019 So after touring the past four decades, is the United States over the past 40 years looking more or less conservative? Robert Sullivan, Vogue, "Political Division? That’s Nothing New," 7 Mar. 2019 Sometimes conservative treatments aren’t enough to resolve some of the above conditions, in which case surgical intervention may be necessary. Carolyn L. Todd, SELF, "What the Hell Is a Sitz Bath? (And Why Would You Take One?)," 14 Mar. 2019

Recent Examples on the Web: Noun

Law-and-order conservatives have been pro-prosecutor, and less friendly to due process, since the 1960s as part of their anticrime agenda. Jason Willick, WSJ, "Kamala Harris for the Prosecution," 21 Jan. 2019 In a Twitter thread, Albright chronicled how conservatives were able to reach a much wider audience with their hoax claims on Instagram, using various features of the platform. Casey Newton, The Verge, "How platforms are driving users to misinformation about mail bombs," 27 Oct. 2018 In fact, while conservatives were significantly more likely to give the wrong answer with their first try, this party gap disappeared by the end. Scott K. Johnson, Ars Technica, "Being reminded of your political bubble can stop you from breaking out," 3 Sep. 2018 The most ideologically pure conservatives are Trumpier than the nativist and isolationist ones. Jonathan Chait, Daily Intelligencer, "The Anti-Trump Right Has Become Trump’s Base," 3 July 2018 Related stories from Sacramento Bee Justice Kennedy played an unexpectedly pivotal role at the Supreme Court The day conservatives have been waiting for on the Supreme Court. Jared Gilmour, sacbee, "Trump court pick must be ‘considered fairly and not subjected to personal attacks,’ McConnell says," 27 June 2018 In particular, as factcheck.org documented, many conservatives have touted a $93 trillion price tag that came from a center-right policy group’s estimates. Lucy Diavolo, Teen Vogue, "Donald Trump Jr. Prompted an "AOC Sucks!" Chant at President Donald Trump's Michigan Rally," 29 Mar. 2019 That case was decided by a 5-4 vote before Gorsuch joined the court, with four conservatives in dissent. Mark Sherman, The Seattle Times, "High court questions courts’ role in partisan redistricting," 26 Mar. 2019 In a meeting with conservatives that day, Mr. Trump was resigned to the fact that his proposal was going to fail, according to those in the meeting. Kristina Peterson, WSJ, "Beyond the Shutdown: The Trump-Pelosi Dynamic Defines Washington," 25 Jan. 2019

These example sentences are selected automatically from various online news sources to reflect current usage of the word 'conservative.' 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 conservative

Adjective

14th century, in the meaning defined at sense 4

Noun

1831, in the meaning defined at sense 1a

History and Etymology for conservative

Adjective

see conserve entry 1

Noun

see conserve entry 1

Keep scrolling for more

Learn More about conservative

Statistics for conservative

Last Updated

1 May 2019

Look-up Popularity

Time Traveler for conservative

The first known use of conservative was in the 14th century

See more words from the same century

Keep scrolling for more

More Definitions for conservative

conservative

adjective

English Language Learners Definition of conservative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

: believing in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society : relating to or supporting political conservatism
: of or relating to the conservative party in countries like the United Kingdom and Canada
: not liking or accepting changes or new ideas

conservative

noun

English Language Learners Definition of conservative (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who believes in the value of established and traditional practices in politics and society : a person who is politically conservative
: a member or supporter of a conservative political party in countries like the United Kingdom and Canada

conservative

adjective
con·​ser·​va·​tive | \ kən-ˈsər-və-tiv How to pronounce conservative (audio) \

Kids Definition of conservative

 (Entry 1 of 2)

1 : favoring a policy of keeping things as they are : opposed to change
2 : favoring established styles and standards He wears conservative ties.
3 : likely to be lower than what the real amount or number is a conservative estimate

Other Words from conservative

conservatively adverb

conservative

noun

Kids Definition of conservative (Entry 2 of 2)

: a person who is opposed to change : a cautious person

conservative

adjective
con·​ser·​va·​tive | \ kən-ˈsər-vət-iv How to pronounce conservative (audio) \

Medical Definition of conservative

: not extreme or drastic especially : designed to preserve parts or restore or preserve function conservative treatment of prostate cancer by watchful waiting or hormonal therapy in contrast to radical prostatectomy — compare aggressive sense 3, radical entry 1

Other Words from conservative

conservatively adverb

Keep scrolling for more

Comments on conservative

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

WORD OF THE DAY

a strong desire or propensity

Get Word of the Day daily email!

Test Your Vocabulary

Challenging Vocabulary Quiz Returns!

  • stylized drawing of woman pole vaulting across gap to get trophy
  • Which is a synonym of fuliginous?
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!