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 More likely, the GSI could be part of the ideological foundation of a new Sino-centric sphere, composed mainly of illiberal states and Chinese clients. Michael Schuman, The Atlantic, 13 July 2022 In Hungary and Serbia, illiberal nationalist leaders both cruised to reelection on Sunday. Washington Post, 3 Apr. 2022 Analysts point to Poland, whose illiberal nationalist ruling party has spent years re-engineering the judiciary in its favor, much to the consternation of the European Union leadership in Brussels. Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post, 27 June 2022 Advocates fear regression in the United States would give momentum to illiberal forces elsewhere. Washington Post, 3 May 2022 This book explains how illiberal political forces came to be so powerful — and why the fundamental values of our political system are worth fighting for. The Week Staff, The Week, 2 May 2022 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 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

1 Aug 2022

Cite this Entry

“Illiberal.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 10 Aug. 2022.

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