il·​lib·​er·​al·​ism | \(ˌ)i(l)-ˈli-b(ə-)rə-ˌli-zəm \

Definition of illiberalism 

: opposition to or lack of liberalism

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Examples of illiberalism in a Sentence

a woman who fails to see that her unexamined faith in political liberalism actually makes her guilty of illiberalism

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The illiberalism here lies with the law’s critics, who would deny the Jewish state the freedom to legislate like a normal country. Eugene Kontorovich, WSJ, "Get Over It—Israel Is the Jewish State," 19 July 2018 Donald Trump did not ignite but merely joined a miserable, destabilizing trend of illiberalism that has been under way for years in Russia, Turkey, China, India, Southeast Asia, and Western, Eastern, and Central Europe. Rachel Aviv, The New Yorker, "Donald Trump and the Stress Test of Liberal Democracy," 13 Mar. 2017 Trump’s anger, paranoia, dishonesty, and illiberalism operate at human scale, in 140-character bursts. Ezra Klein, Vox, "American democracy has faced worse threats than Donald Trump," 10 May 2018 Do not ask when this choice between liberalism and illiberalism will come to America. Andrew Sullivan, Daily Intelligencer, "A Democracy Disappears," 13 Apr. 2018 Radicals might have insisted that illiberalism and state Zionism were inextricable; that the maintenance of a majority-Jewish nation in a predominantly Muslim region would inevitably require discriminatory policies. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Natalie Portman and the Crisis of Liberal Zionism," 26 Apr. 2018 Beyond the unprecedented illiberalism of the president’s rhetoric, his approach to governance has been substantively distinctive enough to warrant its own title. Eric Levitz, Daily Intelligencer, "Trumpism Is Having Its Best Week Ever," 10 May 2018 One possibility that has been much discussed is that it will be seen as the dawn of America’s descent into illiberalism. Ezra Klein, Vox, "American democracy has faced worse threats than Donald Trump," 10 May 2018 Hungary and Poland, in particular, have taken a turn toward illiberalism and autocracy. Griff Witte, Washington Post, "How Slovakia stood up to a journalist’s murder and kicked out its prime minister," 28 Mar. 2018

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

1839, in the meaning defined above

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Last Updated

14 Nov 2018

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The first known use of illiberalism was in 1839

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a private place of worship

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