il·​lib·​er·​al | \ (ˌ)i(l)-ˈli-b(ə-)rəl How to pronounce illiberal (audio) \

Definition of illiberal

: not liberal: such as
a : not broad-minded : bigoted illiberal thinking
b : opposed to liberalism illiberal tendencies
c : not requiring the background of a liberal arts education illiberal occupations
d archaic : not generous : stingy
e archaic
(1) : lacking a liberal education
(2) : lacking culture and refinement

Other Words from illiberal

illiberality \ (ˌ)i(l)-​ˌli-​bə-​ˈra-​lə-​tē How to pronounce illiberal (audio) \ noun
illiberally \ (ˌ)i(l)-​ˈli-​b(ə-​)rə-​lē How to pronounce illiberal (audio) \ adverb
illiberalness \ (ˌ)i(l)-​ˈli-​b(ə-​)rəl-​nəs How to pronounce illiberal (audio) \ noun

Examples of illiberal in a Sentence

an illiberal attitude toward sex an illiberal society that viewed any artistic depiction of the nude as inherently indecent
Recent Examples on the Web At the same time, supporters of reproductive health care must also engage in a much larger project to build a liberal democratic order to replace the illiberal order that now governs the US. Nicole Hemmer, CNN, 4 May 2022 According to the University of Gothenburg’s V-Dem Institute, the Republican Party shifted dramatically towards illiberal rhetoric between 2002 and 2018, putting it in proximity to European far-right parties. Camille Gélix, The Conversation, 3 May 2022 There was no question that leaders of the Azov Battalion and Right Sector championed a chauvinistic, illiberal ethos. Luke Mogelson, The New Yorker, 2 May 2022 Florida Governor Ron DeSantis’s emergence as a mini-Trump, who imitates the former president’s hand gestures and makes his state into an illiberal stronghold, is another. Ruth Ben-ghiat, The New Republic, 15 Apr. 2022 The Fidesz party of Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, Europe’s illiberal demagogue de jour, won a comfortable two-thirds majority in parliament, giving Orban a fourth consecutive term in power. Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2022 The supermajority has allowed Mr. Orban to ram through changes to the Constitution as part of his illiberal agenda. New York Times, 31 Mar. 2022 The question Silberman raises is what to do with people who graduate from law school having been taught that there is only upside to illiberal attacks on speech. Dan Mclaughlin, National Review, 28 Mar. 2022 But imagine if right-wing Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán or another professedly illiberal leader took similar steps. Samuel Goldman, The Week, 18 Feb. 2022 See More

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

First Known Use of illiberal

1535, in the meaning defined above

History and Etymology for illiberal

Middle French or Latin; Middle French, from Latin illiberalis ignoble, stingy, from Latin in- + liberalis liberal

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The first known use of illiberal was in 1535

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Last Updated

21 May 2022

Cite this Entry

“Illiberal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 25 Jun. 2022.

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